Blind, terminally ill veteran skydives, raising £3,000 for charity

A blind and terminally ill former soldier achieved one of his bucket list goals by participating in a 13,000ft tandem skydive. Mark Pile, 58 years old, who served in the Light Infantry between 1984 and 1993, wanted to complete a skydive while he still had the ability. Despite having cancer and recently recovering from pneumonia, Pile was determined to take on the challenge, with the help of a tandem instructor.

“The experience was everything I could have hoped for, the instructor was my eyes and explained everything that he could see on the way down,” said Pile, who hails from Somerset. He was grateful for the support from friends, some of whom he hadn’t seen for over a year, who came to cheer him on during the skydive.

Pile’s eyesight began to deteriorate in 2000, and he was later diagnosed with amblyopia, a hereditary eye condition that affects the connection between the brain and the eye. By 2011, he was registered blind, with only 15% vision in one eye. This led to him staying indoors for a decade, as he struggled to cope with his condition.

However, Pile’s life changed when he reached out to the charity Blind Veterans UK and accepted their assistance. He now credits the charity for “saving my life” and said, “If it wasn’t for the fantastic support I’ve received, I wouldn’t be here today. I can’t thank them enough.”

In addition to the skydive, which raised £3,000, Blind Veterans UK also supported Pile’s passion for photography, enabling him to photograph an event at the Tower of London. Pile expressed his gratitude for the charity’s ongoing support, saying, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this. It’s wonderful that the charity is still helping me at this stage in my life.”

Pile emphasized the importance of giving back, adding, “This parachute jump has been my small way of saying thank you.”

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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