A 78-YEAR-OLD grand-dad who did a parachute jump in memory of his wife has raised close to €13,000 for charity.
Michael Sheahan, from Dooradoyle, saw his jump cancelled twice due to poor weather conditions, but finally plummeted 30,000 feet from the skies above Kilkenny recently.
“It was fabulous. Just terrific. I couldn’t believe how calm I was going up, but my jaw nearly dropped on the way down. It was ridiculously fast,” he enthused.
“The money has been pouring it. It’s a great success. We initially thought about raising €10,000, but now it looks closer to €13,000,” he told the Limerick Leader.
Before the jump - which had been a life-long ambition - he told friends and family: “If the parachute doesn’t work you’ll get your money back!”
The father of five and grandfather of 10 was prompted to take up the cause after his beloved wife Evelyn sadly passed away in July 2013 following a brain aneurysm at the age of 67.
His five sons - Padraig, Kevin, Robert, John and Fergus - and their wives and children were all with him on the day to watch this special feat.
All the money raised will go towards the Adrienne Hussey Foundation at the University of Limerick, in memory of the 26-year-old Texas Rose of Tralee candidate, Adrienne Elizabeth Hussey, who passed away in January 2012 as a result of a ruptured brain aneurysm.
Michael said since he began his fundraising drive he has been shocked by the number of people who have told him of relatives who have passed away suddenly from aneurysms.
“Of the 150 houses in my estate, three people have died from aneurysms, including Evelyn, and at least three other people have had aneursyms but survived,” said Michael.
While he is approaching his eighth decade, Michael is still working, running the family business Michael Sheahan & Sons pork and bacon products, which was started by his great grand-father in 1822.
He said he has been overwhelmed and grateful for all of the support the community has given him, with €2,500 alone raised at a pub quiz in Collins’ bar in Dooradoyle recently.
The couple had been married for 47 years and Michael said they were “inseparable” and “never went anywhere without holding hands”. “I miss that a lot,” he added.
“We fell madly in love, and that was it. We had a super life. A fabulous life.”
Love blossomed when Michael’s mother took Evelyn in as a lodger while she was studying in Limerick and a few years later they were mother and daughter-in-law.