Her 33 surgeries and 41 months of bed rest haven’t stopped her from skydiving, riding snowmobiles, parasailing, downhill skiing, sled hockey, summer luging, and more.
Jamie Spore was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele 37 years ago. Her 33 surgeries and 41 months of bed rest to heal pressure ulcers haven’t stopped her from skydiving, riding snowmobiles, parasailing, glider riding, adaptive water and downhill skiing, sled hockey, zip lining, and summer luging.
In addition to her “extreme sports” activities, Jamie served as Ms. Wheelchair Michigan 2016, giving her the opportunity to travel throughout the state and the Midwest and share her story and inspire others.
Jamie says, “It’s not always easy, but I have a great life. I also hope to demonstrate my belief that we as individuals with Spina Bifida can do anything we put our minds to regardless of our paraplegia or quadriplegia.”
As a self-described adrenaline junkie, Jamie recently went skydiving for the 4th time. She explains, “Skydiving is the ultimate adrenaline rush. I’m a little addicted to it! Nothing compares to the feeling of exhilaration and freedom that you get from jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, free falling for about 35 seconds before the parachute opens, and then floating for another 7 minutes or so as you descend to the ground. It’s magical!”
Before her August 19th jump, Jamie had been on bedrest for 3 ½ months to heal a pressure ulcer. “This jump was my gift to myself for getting the ulcer healed,” explained Jamie.
Jamie is wearing her favorite Spina Bifida shirt, imprinted with “AdJUST BElieve OvercoME…JUST BE ME”, which sums up her life’s philosophy. “At 10,000 feet, everyone is equal. Up in the sky, you don’t think about paralysis and accessibility issues, hospitalizations and surgeries, medical bills and chronic health issues, or prejudice and discrimination—all of the things that separate a person with Spina Bifida from an able-bodied person. All you think about when you skydive is how free and limitless and amazing your body feels!”
Jamie’s instructor, Dennis Bennett, owner of Skydive Allegan in Michigan, enables people with disabilities to experience skydiving, which allows them to break down barriers and experience the ultimate sense of freedom. “Dennis always gives me the opportunity to control the parachute after our free fall. It’s an indescribable experience!” Jamie stated.
Dennis is specially trained to give para and quadriplegics the opportunity to skydive. There are special considerations for people with disabilities who want to skydive because those individuals generally have low bone densities, poor blood circulation, and other health issues. “I absolutely love and appreciate Dennis and his staff at Skydive Allegan, because they are always eager to teach others how to skydive regardless of their physical impairments.”
“Life with Spina Bifida is not always easy. I try to “Just Be Me” and always chase my dreams. I encourage others to do the same.” Jamie commented. – Jamie Spore