Wheelchair-Bound MS Patient Is Soaring Beyond Limits in Indoor Skydiving Birthday

Published 09/25/2023, 10:07 AM EDT

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In the tapestry of life, birthdays hold a special place for the people we love. The world is full of challenges and uncertainties throughout our lives. However, conquering one’s fears and pushing beyond self-imposed limitations requires a great deal of courage and determination. One such man went skydiving and overcame his limitations.

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Derrick Cunliffe, a Wagon local bound to a wheelchair, embodies the resilient spirit that defies boundaries. He received an extraordinary indoor skydiving birthday gift from his beloved daughter. This is a tale of a 61-year-old father who reminds us of the indomitable spirit of the human soul and a heart-touching bond between a father and his daughter.

A Daughter’s Gift of Flight

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Birthdays are a time for celebration, a moment to show our loved ones just how much they mean to us. For Terri Cunliffe, daughter of  Derrick Cunliffe, the sentiment took on a whole new level of meaning as she embarked on a mission to gift her father an experience he would never forget.

Derrick Cunliffe, a father and a former plasterer, found himself facing a daunting adversary back in the year 2014. He was suddenly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Derrick lives in the Wickham Hall retirement housing complex with his two children who visit him occasionally. Both his son Connor, 26, and daughter Terri, 31, currently reside in Australia. He has found a caring and supportive environment there. 

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Terri shared how it has been a struggling journey for them since the time her dad was diagnosed with MS. “There was no family history so it came as a surprise and took a few years to diagnose. He had full use of his body until less than a year into being diagnosed when he lost the use of 95% of his body.”

Approaching Derrick’s 61st birthday, Terri knew she wanted to go above and beyond the usual tokens of affection.“For his birthday, I wanted to give him something that was a little different, aside from the usual box of chocolates that he would probably struggle to open. ” Terri shared. And so, the search began for a unique and accessible-friendly experience. 

Breaking boundaries: indoor skydiving adventure 

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After some research, Terri came across iFly Manchester, which specializes in accessibility-friendly indoor skydiving. She meticulously planned every detail of the skydiving adventure. Derrick, who typically relies on a wheelchair for mobility, and was gently lifted from it by the instructors, ready to experience the powerful tunnel during the dive.

VIDEO: Daring Skydiver Nearly Engulfed in Flames From Surprise at 3,000 Feet Above

“It was quite an experience. It was good to get out of my wheelchair for a few minutes.”, Derrick reflected, a sense of exhilaration evident in his voice. Those few minutes of weightlessness and freedom it held a profound significance. It reminded Derrick of the limitless possibilities that still awaited him, despite the constraints of his condition. 

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Derrick’s awe-inspiring indoor skydiving adventure reminds us that dreams know no bounds. It exemplifies the indomitable spirit that resides within us all, urging us to push past limitations and reach for the skies, literally and metaphorically! So how are you planning to celebrate your next birthday? Share with us your views and thoughts in the comment section below. After all, Derrick’s story is a testament to the fact that the sky is not the limit—it’s just the beginning!

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Written by:

Disita Sikdar

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Disita Sikdar is a Viral Sports Moments writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed her bachelor's degree in English from Bhawanipur Education Society College affiliated under the University of Calcutta, she will soon be stepping towards pursuing her masters in English. She has experience working as a content creator and social media manager previously.
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Edited by:

Arnima Shukla

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