“I had a bit of a shitty 2019. I can best describe it as a roller coaster of a year. One minute everything seemed great, the next the rug was pulled out from under me. It seemed to keep happening over and over again. A lot of my friends were going through tough times, whether it be through the loss of a friend or relative, separation from partners, etc.”
“My primary reason for organizing this jump is that one of my closest friends attempted suicide by slitting his wrists. I had no idea he was suffering, let alone suicidal. That hit me hard,” described Lee Evans, the team captain for Trance Divers.
Trance Divers are 27 dance music enthusiasts that aim to bring awareness of mental health issues by participating in a group skydive over the west coast city of Lancaster, England on the morning of Saturday, March 7, 2020.
“I was speaking with Solomon Ori-Orison one day (also doing the jump) and we were saying that it would be good to kind of hit the reset button, so to speak, and do something we’d never done before, preferably something that scared us,” described Lee. “So, it was decided that a skydive would be ideal.”
Although terrified of heights, Lee felt that if he can conquer that mentality, he can conquer almost anything.
“I decided to stick the idea of having a group dive on Facebook to raise a bit of money for Mind, a prominent mental health charity which has individual branches dotted around the country which provide specific support to their town given areas, as I live near the Wirral in the UK, that’s the specific branch I picked to help.”
And, some of the Trance Diver participants have their own stories for wanting to make the jump.
Nicola Mcintyre, a resident of Glasgow says, “My family has been dealing with all different forms of mental health issues. My youngest son, in particular, has struggled in the past with his anxiety and depression. And as a parent, and all those that are very close to me, I want to support them in any way I can.”
The weather looks promising as of press time with only a 10% chance of rain.
Nottingham resident, Natalie Jones explains that her Gestational Trophoblastic disease (a rare form of cancer) caused her to lose her daughter halfway through her pregnancy. This, coupled with the separation from her husband of 16.5 years who she had two sons with, brought her to her lowest ebb.
“I was an utter mess,” she said. “But, I threw myself into being a single mum and trying to make a life for me and my boys. My brother, Simon Pollard, who is also diving, has been my absolute rock. He’s my best friend and has been there for me through chemotherapy and my marriage break up. I couldn’t wish for a better brother.”
And, after just four short years, Natalie is back and has a job she loves working in a pre-school. Two months ago, Natalie attended the infamous Gatecrasher White Party where she met Lee. “We’ve been inseparable ever since and couldn’t be happier,” she said. “He told me about the skydive and that he was doing it for ‘Mind,’ so I agreed to do it. I aim to leave the past in clouds and look to the future with positivity.”
Another brave soul who will be jumping from 15,000 feet in the air is Victoria McKeer. Having raised three children with her then partner who was later convicted of pedophilia, she battled her feelings and mental health and sought Mind’s help in the process.
“I used to go their sessions at my local children’s center,” she remembered. “They offer head massages, stress-relieving classes, and meditation guidance. It used to be a giggle, but it helped bring me around other people during a dark time in my life.”
Years later Victoria decided to train to become a nurse. “5 years studying, and I’ve just recently passed my degree and have started my career in nursing. I see mental health services that the underfunded NHS can’t afford and know that charities like ‘Mind’ are crucial invaluable and life-saving in some situations.”
“This skydive is my chance to give back,” she continued. “I love the Trance scene and have been a part of it for 3 years now and have met some of the most excellent people”
Although scared of flying and heights, the Oxfordshire resident feels that she’ll laugh and cry as she jumps from the plane.
Our last personal narrative comes from Selby, England’s Karen Chambers. Abused as a child, she has suffered from mental health issues from the age of 20. “I had depression, anxiety, and a borderline eating disorder,” she said. “I had numerous counseling sessions and was taking antidepressants. I went through a rough patch not wanting to be here.”
Karen’s daughter threatened to kill herself, and her son, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, has harmed himself.
Since meeting her second husband, who has been amazing and offered great support, Karen says it felt good to share her story. “I’m lucky to have a good husband and family who are always there for me. I try to stay positive and strong.”
These tremendous stories, in conjunction with Lee’s efforts, have seen a tremendous impact on the dance music community. People are overcoming their fears and have reached into their wallets to donate.
“Within a matter of days we had a dozen or more divers,” Lee proudly said. “Ibiza Trance Event, which donated £1192 to the cause after matching our initial £1000 goal.”
As of press time, Trance Divers have raised over £8000.
There is still time to support the following 27 Trance Divers by clicking on: https://www.justgiving.com/team/trance-gang
Lee Evans – Captain
Tibble PJ Smith
Dean James Norbury
Elizabeth Rose Chanel
Editor note: All personal accounts provided in the writing of this article were done so voluntarily.
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