Skydive for student who lost relatives to cancer

Arrti Singh says jumping from the plane was terrifying and exhilarating. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Arrti Singh says jumping from the plane was terrifying and exhilarating. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A STUDENT who lost three relatives to cancer has braved a skydive to raise money to research the disease.

Thrill-seeker Arrti Singh, 19, had always been keen to take part in the challenge – and opted to raise cash for a charity close to her heart, knowing all too well the devastating effects of the illness.

Three members of her family have died after battles with the disease over the past few years, including her aunt, Kiran Kusbia Singh, who was only in her early 20s when she lost her life to a rare form of spinal cancer.

Miss Singh’s great-uncle, Chiman Singh-Landa, died of pancreatic cancer and her great-aunt, Sarinder Singh, died after getting breast cancer.

Meanwhile, her grandfather, Baldave Kusbia Singh, survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

Miss Singh, who lives at Duddingston, said: “We’re a very big and supportive 
family who stay strong for one another.

“My aunt Kiran was so beautiful and could do anything with her eyes closed. When she passed away it was very upsetting. My relatives have always been caring and protective of me, so I wanted to do something that could help protect others.”

The second year English Literature student at Edinburgh University said: “Cancer is such a huge, vile disease and it can destroy so many lives.

“I wanted to try and get a silver lining from this very upsetting situation. By raising money for cancer prevention, I hope that it helps other people.

“As painful as it is for anyone who has gone through losing someone, you try to do something better out of it.”

Miss Singh, who raised £400 for the World Cancer Research Fund after she leapt out of a plane at St Andrews airfield in Fife last month, said the jump was terrifying and exhilarating.

She said: “When we flew above the clouds I was so excited. They looked like a blanket, I couldn’t believe it.

“When we jumped, I forgot to breathe. I couldn’t believe we were falling through the air.

“It was just insane – I just couldn’t get the grin off my face. There was no door on the plane, and when I saw how high we were going up, I just kept cheesing. When we first jumped in tandem, I screamed. But then there was a point where I was so silent my instructor thought I had passed out. I was just overwhelmed.”

Michael Smeaton, World Cancer Research Fund’s deputy head of fundraising, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Arrti for raising so much money for us. Her family have suffered a lot and her decision to try and help others by 
supporting cancer prevention is inspirational.”

Scientists believe almost a third of common cancers could be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes. World Cancer Research Fund finances research in cancer prevention and provides information on how to reduce people’s risk of developing cancer.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com