Colleagues dive in to help with fundraiser



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When Corey Henderson takes his leap of faith next month, he won’t be jumping alone.

The Orillia man’s Skydiving for Epilepsy fundraiser caught the attention of his colleagues at Shoppers Drug Mart on Westmount Drive. Instead of one person jumping from a plane in August, there will be at least 10.

“I’m overwhelmed and surprised that people want to jump with me,” Henderson said. “I have the best work family.”

He organized the fundraiser in memory of his wife, Catherine, who died in 2015, at age 37, of complications from having an epileptic seizure.

Terri Knicely wanted to help her co-worker, so she rallied the troops and Shoppers.

“My main reason was Corey. He’s become a really good friend of mine,” she said.

It’s no small undertaking for Knicely and Henderson, both of whom suffer from anxiety and have a fear of heights.

“I’m petrified,” Knicely admitted.

She’s not the only one.

“I’m terrified of heights,” said co-worker Virginia Bramer, who will also skydive. “I won’t even go on the big rides at Canada’s Wonderland.”

But, because she was soliciting donations for the fundraiser, she felt she should go all in.

“If I’m asking people to give money to the cause, I should be taking part in it,” she said.

Colleague Theresa Cox admitted she, too, is “getting really terrified” in the lead-up to the event, “but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I get to support a friend.”

It’s more than simply supporting a friend, though. It’s also about raising money for Epilepsy Canada and raising awareness about a disorder “a lot of people really don’t know about,” Cox said.

“You just don’t hear about epilepsy as much as you do about other diseases,” Bramer added.

While the number of skydivers has gone from one to 10, the sky’s the limit. Anyone is invited to join in and jump out during the fundraiser, which will take place Aug. 11 at Skydive Toronto in Cookstown. Those taking part must pay the associated costs of the skydive, but Skydive Toronto will donate $50 from each jump to Epilepsy Canada.

For those who don’t want to skydive, there are other ways to help. Henderson and his colleagues will be at the Downtown Orillia Summer Block Party on July 28 to raise money and awareness. They will also have a raffle, with prizes including box-seat tickets to a Toronto Argonauts game.

People are also welcome to attend the Aug. 11 event, even if they’re not jumping. There will be activities for kids on site, and Henderson’s three young children will be selling Kool-Aid for donations.

A $10,000 fundraising goal has been set. Donations, and registration information to take part in the event, can be made here. Knicely also started a GoFundMe page that can be found here.

While the money is appreciated, Henderson also wants to shed light on epilepsy and the effects it can have on those who have the disorder, and their families.

“If we can make (Epilepsy Canada) famous even for 15 minutes, I’ll be happy with that,” he said.

Keep up with the fundraising efforts on the Skydiving for Epilepsy Facebook page.




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