With the same fighting spirit that helped her successfully fight off breast cancer, Marian Sparks and her fundraising organization Jump for the Rose recently set a new record for their fundraising efforts. This effort was especially notable since it was set despite rotten weather that limited attendance at the organization’s annual main event at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas.
Jump for the Rose’s fundraising efforts benefit The Rose, a Houston clinic that provides breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and education for all women regardless of their ability to pay.
“After The Rose took care of me with no insurance,” said Sparks, “I told the doctor (Dixie Mellilo, co-founder of The Rose) I was going to pay her back by raising money for her. That’s what this is all about.”
“This has been a tremendous success, and it couldn’t have happened without each of you. I am humbled and overwhelmed on a regular basis when it comes to my skydiving family,” said Jump for the Rose Vice President Leah Blache on Oct. 6, the backup date for the event that carried over from the previous weekend. The prior weekend, Sept. 29-30, skydivers traveled to Skydive Spaceland from as far away as Hawaii, only to find unrelenting rain and low clouds that prevented skydiving completely.
Not to be defeated, Jump for the Rose members, volunteers, and friends continued their fundraising efforts with online donations, raffle tickets for prizes worth up to $1,500, a screening of the skydiving/breast cancer awareness documentary Pink Skies, and educational seminars for women to do what they can to prevent breast cancer. They extended the event to Oct. 6, so skydivers supporting the event could still enjoy skydiving together while donating to a very good cause. The result: More than $14,330 was raised for The Rose across the two weekends, and the money is still coming in.
“This is just amazing, seeing what you all are doing and making sure that an uninsured woman has services that she might need,” said The Rose president Dorothy Gibbons at the event on Oct. 6.
In almost two years of existence, Jump for the Rose has raised more than $25,000 for The Rose, and is second only to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in supporting The Rose. Jump for the Rose has also set two women’s Texas State Records: A three-point (three-formation) 27-woman skydive in 2011 and a two-point 38-woman skydive in 2010. Jump for the Rose has also set two National Skydiving Records, all at Skydive Spaceland.
Sparks, now a spokesperson for a national advertising campaign for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, states, “It takes courage to leap from an airplane, and it takes courage to get your mammogram. Both result in saving your life, and there is great joy in that!”
About Jump for the Rose
Jump for the Rose (JFTR) is a grassroots 501(c)3 corporation. As a men’s and women’s skydiving organization, JFTR is dedicated to raising funds for The Rose, a Houston-area breast cancer clinic. The clinic’s mission is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing screening, diagnostics and access to treatment for all women regardless of their ability to pay. Their services covered screening and successful breast cancer treatments for Jump for the Rose’s founder, Marian Sparks.
In 2010, Jump for the Rose began hosting state record events for the largest women’s skydiving formations completed in Texas. In its brief history, the group has hosted two successful Women’s Texas State Records and earned a National Women’s Sequential Skydiving record.
About Skydive Spaceland
Skydive Spaceland is a three-generation family-owned and -operated skydiving business located in Rosharon, Texas, just south of downtown Houston, Texas. First opened for business in February 2000 by Steve Boyd, Sr., Skydive Spaceland has grown into a truly world-class skydiving facility open 7 days a week and capable of handling hundreds of skydivers jumping daily. More than 100,000 skydiving students have been instructed at Spaceland and the center facilitates about 70,000 skydives per year.
Skydive Spaceland has also played host to the world’s largest skydiving competition, the United Parachuting Association