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Those who don't jump will never fly
Helena Baker skydiving for Cambridge Rare Disease Network

Yesterday our very own Helena Baker, VP for Nursing, threw herself out of a plane to raise money for Cambridge Rare Disease network, we interviewed her before the jump to understand more about the jump and why she was taking part. Please read Helena's story below and DONATE to this amazing cause!

1. Tell me more about you…

My name’s Helena Baker and I’ve been a nurse since 1984 (too many years!). I was born with an ultra-rare disease called Fibular Hemimelia. It’s a congenital disorder that left me with one leg shorter than the other, a tiny club foot, lots of missing ligaments in my leg and body and a great deal of sheer bloody mindedness. I have never let my leg get in the way and despite hundreds of operations, including having my right lower leg amputated last September, I have had an amazing life, an amazing career and am lucky enough to be working for an amazing company.

2. Tell me about the skydive?

The jump (or “Death Dive” as I tend to think of it) is taking place at 12noon on Sunday 4th June, the day before the Company Meeting. I am jumping with 5 wonderful friends from my village and we will be supported by lots of friends and family – including the MRN family I hope! On the day, I’m not allowed to jump wearing my prosthetic leg and I’m also not allowed to land on my recently broken one remaining ankle. So I’m going to land on my instructor who will be delighted. I’m planning on testing them out beforehand for looks and comfort.

3. Why did you decide to do the skydive?

My terrible friend Zoe Napier, who got me Wing Walking a few years ago, got me terribly drunk and asked me if I’d like to do a parachute jump. I drunkenly said it was something I’d always wanted to do. The following day, she presented me with the tickets and I’ve now discovered that it’s the last thing in the world I’d like to do. Shes an awful woman.

4. Who are you raising money for and why?

CRDN is building a vibrant, informed & active regional community of rare disease patients, families & professionals, united to help develop user-led services. We offer community activities, awareness raising events & closer collaboration between patients, academia, healthcare, industry and charities. I sit on the steering group for this charity and we are aiming to fund specialist homecare nurses to support families, adults and children with rare diseases, from the named disorders to the unknown and un-named. Having had access to such a support service would have made such a difference to me and my family.

5. How was the jump?

I’ll tell you if I survive!

6. How are you feeling now?


7. Would you do it again/what’s next for you?

Ask me on June 5th!

We'll update with how Helena is feeling post jump soon but in the meantime don't forget to dig deep and give generously to Cambridge Rare Disease Network HERE.

Posted by:
Zara Miles
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