THRILL-SEEKER Charlea McGahan is preparing to throw herself out of an aircraft at 10,000 feet just days after her 16th birthday to raise money for a children’s charity.
But while the youngster, who has autism, can hardly wait for take-off on March 11, her mum Sam is terrified.
“It’s all Charlea’s idea. She has always been a bit of a daredevil,” she told the Advertiser.
Last year, as a birthday treat she was taken for an aerobatic flight.
“She absolutely loved it. The pilot said she was a natural. She didn’t flinch or anything,” said Sam.
“This year I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she said she wanted to sky dive.”
Sam, who works as a carer, said she was still protective of Charlea so felt she couldn’t allow her to go through the experience without going along.
But she freely admits: “I’m hoping that she will jump first then whoever I’m attached to, God bless them, will just have to throw me out.”
Her daughter knows no fear and Sam believes her thrill-seeking it is only partly due to her autism.
“She has got no fear of consequences even when she is told off. For her this is just something fun, something that’s going be brilliant,” she said.
“I was like that as a child and I did want to skydive when I was 16 or 17, but being a mother makes you more realistic and you worry.”
Sam, of Sherston Avenue, Penhill, knew early on that her daughter was not an ordinary child.
She would hug everyone she met, even if she didn’t know them. But her verbal development was slow and she didn’t talk until she was about six.
Normally withdrawn, it is her exciting adventures and her kickboxing that bring her out of her shell.
Sam’s younger daughter Grace, aged nine, also has a taste for adventure.
“But I’ve told her that whatever happens I’m not doing this a second time,” she said, and she has also ruled out trying bungee jumping for any of Charlea’s future birthdays.
The Kingsdown School pupil will be raising money for Wiltshire Wishes, Wiltshire Wishes, a small charity that helps to fulfil the dreams of seriously ill children.
It was Charlea who decided she wanted to generate money for a good cause while she was having fun and eventually, after doing some research, she decided on the Trowbridge-based organisation formed in memory of Connor Robinson.
“It is something she really wants to do because she loves young children,” explained Sam.
In fact the teenager uses her skills as a black belt kickboxer to help teach Saturday morning sessions for children at Swindon Martial Arts Centre.
To sponsor Charlea visit everyclick.com/charleamcgahan