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Here's why a Vancouver Island 80-year-old went skydiving in a wedding dress


To appreciate why Betty John is walking towards a skydiving plane in a wedding dress, we need to go back to when the almost 80-year-old couldn’t walk at all.

“I was very weak. I couldn’t get my breath,” Betty says. “I couldn’t sleep because I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up.”

Betty got sick on vacation at the start of 2020. The hotel doctor called her condition a mystery.

“He said, ‘You are near death,’” Betty says she was told. “‘I don’t know how to fix you.’”

After being rushed back to Canada, Betty spent the next three months in hospital being treated for COVID-19.

Betty credits her ability to endure two years of long COVID symptoms with the strength she found being eight years sober.

“God grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change,” Betty said, reciting the 12-step Serenity Prayer. “And the courage to change the things I can.”

The 80-year-old found the courage to jump out of a plane for the first time by inspiring positive change for others.

“I know there’s people out there suffering just like I did,” Betty says.

So after receiving treatment for long COVID (Betty says 90 per cent of her symptoms have subsided), she decided to jump from a plane at Skydive Vancouver Island as a fundraiser for long COVID research at the BC Women’s Health Foundation.

She is also encouraging others to make the most of living life one day at a time.

“Live for today,” Betty smiles. “As if it’s your last.”

Give back to others. Face your fears. And if you’re like Betty and have been married three times but never wore a wedding dress, why not buy yourself one to wear while jumping out of a plane?

“I wish my husbands could see me now!” Betty smiles as she hurtles through the air in her dress, before making a safe landing on the ground. “[That felt] fantastic!”

Betty says no matter your age, if you find a way to help others and yourself, the feeling will be unforgettable.

“You can do whatever your heart wants to do. But do it before it’s too late,” Betty says. “Don’t think twice. Just do it.” Top Stories

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