A grandmother in a bikini will skydive over Torquay after overcoming a series of health and financial setbacks.
Sandra Northey, a lawyer turning 52 this month, will leap into her 1000th skydive while piggybacking wingsuit-wearing friend Goz Za more than four kilometres above the Surf Coast.
Ms Northey said she had renewed confidence and inspiration after years of chronic anxiety and fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder that left her incapacitated for two months.
“From my mid 30s I could feel my condition just getting worse and worse. During those two months when it got really bad I’be crawling across the floor in pain,” she told the Indy.
“It was a really slow recovery process but I wouldn’t give up.”
Ms Northey simultaneously experienced heightened anxiety and a swallowing disorder that required surgery, she said.
“I’ve been through two broken marriages and got into some financial trouble when trying to start my own business. I came close to filing for bankruptcy at one stage.”
But she has now run her own northern Victoria law firm since 2008, specialising in conveyancing.
“It was a big undertaking. It was like having a baby,” she said.
“I’m certainly in a good place right now. I’m happy with my body, my health and my energy levels.
“Because I haven’t always had my health and I’ve hit rock bottom, I appreciate it all a lot more.”
Ms Northey began skydiving five years ago after her three children had grown up.
“I was at the stage where I felt more freedom in my life.
“I wanted to use my 1000th dive milestone as an opportunity to reach out to other middle-aged people, especially women, and to inspire them that you can stay fit and active well into your 50s.
“I’m living my dreams to the fullest and getting more enjoyment out of my life than ever before.
“I’d like to inspire other women my age, who may have given up on themselves, thinking they’re too old or too unhealthy, to take control of their destiny and start living the life they’ve always wanted.”
Originally published at Geelong Independent.