This year, Stefan Kazmyrczuk (26) from Haddington, threw himself off a 160 foot crane for Alzheimer Scotland. We caught up with Stefan to find out what inspired him to bungee over the Clyde!
This first came about when a good friend of mine, Katie, got me a truly memorable gift for my birthday. I can’t say I’ll ever forgive her for organising a 160foot charity bungee jump without my knowledge, but it was definitely memorable!
She knew that my gran, Margaret,had dementia and for my birthday she set up the jump and a JustGiving page for me to raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland in my gran’s name. Katie’s gran had also had dementia at a much younger age so she knew what myself and my family were going through so this was her way of showing her support.
Sadly, not long after my birthday, my gran passed away and it hit our family hard. Thankfully, the bungee jump gave me something to focus on and raising as much as I could in my gran’s memory became a priority for me. The support I received from my friends and family in my fundraising efforts was absolutely superb. Literally every member of my immediate family and a number of my friends had sponsor sheets to take around their workplaces and families, where people generously donated.
The event itself took place on what turned out to be a chilly and grey Saturday morning in April through at the Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow. The journey itself was a 130mile round trip and I was absolutely stunned when dozens of people had come along to support me. Friends and family, their partners and children, even schoolmates I hadn’t seen in a number of years turned up to support me which was really quite overwhelming.
I hadn’t considered myself nervous up to this point but by the time I’d arrived and seen the sheer size of the crane, the nerves were definitely jangling! I’d never done anything like this before so to immediately go and do what I found out was the biggest jump the company does in Scotland was pretty frightening! As the crane began to ascend, everything got very real, very quickly. The Glasgow skyline and all its landmarks became visible then quickly much smaller… We reached the 160ft mark where the basket stopped and rotated 90 degrees. I was aware of the instructor talking but everything felt like it was going at 100mph, next thing she’s counting down “3, 2, 1, JUMP!”
It was far from graceful, it was more of a topple than a jump in reality but it was a heart-stopping moment as I fell through the air until the tension of the bungee rope kicked in and bounced me back into the air. The freefall was every bit as stomach churning the next time round but I finally managed to remove the grimace and break into a massive grin as the feeling began to subside. I was pretty grateful to get back to the ground but, judging by the looks on their faces, nowhere near as grateful as my mum and big sister!
It has been incredible to spread the word about dementia and to increase the awareness of it. I found myself learning more about dementia each day and being able to pass that knowledge onto other people. I also gave a small presentation regarding dementia and the work of Alzheimer Scotland to my colleagues, which I was glad to get the opportunity to do.
In the weeks following the event, I collected in all the sponsorship that had been pledged. My initial target was £500 and I am absolutely delighted to say that I managed to raise £1126 in total for the charity. I’m utterly gobsmacked at the amount raised and honoured to be able to donate it to Alzheimer Scotland in memory of my gran, Margaret Kazmyrczuk.