My way of jumping out of a plane

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters made news again this past week when he agreed to participate in a skydiving event to help raise money for the International Foundation of CDKL5 Research.

Pelham police officer Dustin Chandler’s daughter, 2-year-old Carly, has CDKL5, a rare neurological disorder which brings symptoms such as frequent seizures, severe gastrointestinal disorders and visual impairments

Chandler said Waters was “gung-ho” about the idea and signed up practically as soon as he found out what — and who — the event would benefit.

I admire Waters for taking the plunge — literally — and doing something to help benefit one of Pelham’s youngest citizens. Waters is deeply committed to the city of Pelham, and this is just another way he’s showing his commitment. Through his participation, he’s helping to draw a lot of attention both to the event — hopefully encouraging others to participate — and to the disorder itself, which is incredibly rare. Carly is one of only about 600 people worldwide diagnosed with CDKL5, so it doesn’t get much attention or recognition.

Although I don’t think jumping out of a plane is going to be part of my immediate (or foreseeable) future, I do find myself inspired by Waters’ desire to make life better for one of his citizens.

Skydiving isn’t the only way to make an impact. I can volunteer at shelters or food banks, donate funds to a charity I believe in or work at a city event. It’s important for me to make an impact on others beyond just my family and friends.

My husband and I are soon to be parents, and I want our child to understand that any time spent working to improve the lives of others could never be time wasted. I’d like to be an example for our child in the same way that Mayor Waters is an example for me and, I’m sure, for plenty of others.

Amy Jones is the associate editor for the Shelby County Reporter. To reach her, email