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Paralysed Norwich man to take skydive challenge for good cause

Dave Shraga is making a skydive for Spinal Research.; Photo: Bill Smith

Dave Shraga is making a skydive for Spinal Research.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

Taking on the challenge of jumping out of a plane when thousands of feet in the air is scary enough, but doing it when paralysed from the chest down gives the challenge an entirely different complexion.

"In one instant that life was destroyed, stolen, ripped away from me and the doctors’ initial prognosis was fatal."

Dave Shraga

That is what 32-year-old Dave Shraga will be doing later this month though.

Mr Shraga broke his neck when diving into a shallow river 11 years ago, leaving him 80pc paralysed, with limited use of his arms and hands and having to use a wheelchair to get around.

He said: “I was 21-years-old when this happened, I was ‘living the dream,’ young, happy go lucky, travelling and enjoying life with my friends.

“In one instant that life was destroyed, stolen, ripped away from me and the doctors’ initial prognosis was fatal.

“Clearly, I survived, however there are many, many days when I wish I hadn’t survived.

“Every day is a physical and mental challenge. It’s tough just to get up and ready to face the day, but I have decided to take on that challenge and more by living as full a life as is possible with a spinal injury.”

So Mr Shraga, originally from Zimbabwe but living in Hellesdon for the past 10 years, is taking on a tandem skydive to raise money for the Spinal Research charity.

With the same brave attitude in mind, Mr Shraga has also signed up to study International Development at the University of East Anglia, with the aim of helping other people less fortunate than himself.

The choice of charity he is raising money for is a poignant one as well, as Mr Shraga has not given up hope of one day walking again.

He continued: “I have decided to raise funds for Spinal Research because I still believe it is possible for me to walk again.

“Without hope we have nothing, as I know only too well from a few of my friends with spinal injuries who lost hope and committed suicide.

“The work Spinal Research does is invaluable in terms of finding a cure for paralysis.

“On average, three people sustain a spinal injury every day in the UK, that’s three people a day that are left with some form of negatively life-changing paralysis.

“I always said ‘nothing like that will happen to me’, the fact is it did happen to me and it is happening to other people every day. Let’s make a change, a difference, let’s all chip in and help find a cure for spinal injuries please.”

The skydive is being held on Saturday, September 24, at Old Buckenham airfield, near Beccles, which is the day after the anniversary of the accident that left Mr Shraga paralysed in 2000.

Far from being nervous about the jump though, Mr Shraga says: “I’m excited about it.

“I did one two years ago for my 30th birthday to raise money for the same charity and you don’t get time to be scared.”


If you would like to support Mr Shraga’s challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/Dave-Shraga

Do you know someone going to great lengths for charity? Call Evening News reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk


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