LEAPING from a plane from 15,000ft is not for the feint-hearted, but it’s exactly what brave David Day did to raise money for a charity that helps people with autism.
The determined dad was inspired to take the plunge to raise funds for charity Autism Hampshire, after it helped support his family when his seven-year-old son Kayden was diagnosed with autism two years ago.
David, of Tukes Avenue, Gosport, said: ‘I wanted to give something back as the charity has given so much support to us.’
David’s wife Shandrika watched the daredevil feat from the ground at the airfield in Salisbury, along with Kayden and his little brother Maxus, two, and nine-year-old sister Mia.
Shandrika, 34, has been fundraising for the charity and she held a coffee morning at Rosie’s Kitchen in Gosport which raised £130 the weekend before David did his skydive.
She said the charity was a valuable lifeline to help the family come to terms with Kayden’s diagnosis and to deal with his behaviour.
Shandrika said: ‘It has given us an understanding of the behaviour that Kayden displays and helped us to understand why the behaviour is happening and to be able to preempt what could happen.
‘We are always trying to be that one step ahead and the charity has helped us with that and to recognise that it is just how things are.’
Kayden was diagnosed in November 2013, with the family turning to the charity for support in January.
Shandrika said: ‘For a long time I thought there was something different about his behaviour and one of the mums at school saw that his behaviour was not just him being a naughty.
‘She knew that he was not allowed to get away with things at home and so we got a diagnosis.
‘There was some grief, but there was relief that it was not just me going mad or down to bad parenting.’
Autism Hampshire provides help to more than 100 adults across the south.
It estimates there are more than 18,000 people affected by autism in Hampshire alone. The charity relies on donations, with more than 200 specialist staff working full time.
David, 33, hopes to raise £700 for the charity. To donate go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/davidday241205.