Be brave and bare it all to help schizophrenics

During the ninth annual Naked Bungy Jump for BCSS later this month.

WildPlay Element Parks in Cassidy is hoping hundreds of people will be brave enough to bare it all to support local people with schizophrenia and their families during the ninth annual Naked Bungy Jump for BCSS later this month.

The Naked Bungy Jump is a unique fundraiser and awareness campaign organized by the Victoria branch of the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) and hosted by WildPlay.

On Saturday, Feb. 21 and Sunday, Feb. 22, the “brave and bare” who wish to make a very visible and meaningful difference can register to shed all their inhibitions along with their clothing and leap from the 150-foot Bungy Jump above the Nanaimo River. Anyone interested can register online at www.WildPlay.com or by phone at 1-855-595-2251.

The attention-getting event is more than a wacky experiment, says BCSS executive director Hazel Meredith.

“The weekend challenges the stigma of mental illness, which often leaves those affected feeling and finding themselves alone,” she said in a press release.

In contrast, Meredith notes, the Bungy Jump site at WildPlay becomes a jovial place where people come together and encourage each other to face their fears.

Meredith sees the difference that every individual can make.

“Two out of three people will not seek help due to fear of the stigma associated with their disease,” she said. “And 42 per cent of Canadians are unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness. There has to be a correction made here so people can rely on each other when they need it most.”

Schizophrenia is a serious and persistent mental illness that strikes one in 100 people in Canada, most often youth, according to the BCSS.

To help the BCSS raise money, WildPlay offers its Bungy Jump for $35 to pre-registered participants aged 18 or older. Those who are more bashful but still want to Bungy Jump can attend and do so fully-clothed for the regular cost of $129.99.

Net proceeds from Bungy Jumps, as well as $15 spectator fees, are given to the BCSS in support of many life-changing programs.

Over the past nine years, Naked Bungy Jump for BCSS participants have raised $95,915.25 for BCSS.

Event organizers are hopeful that many people will be motivated to drop their inhibitions and participate in Naked Bungy Jump for BCSS, and they’ve set a $30,000 fundraising goal for 2015. Those who want to support the cause but cannot attend have the option to pledge for a jumper or donate to the event by contacting the BCSS donating online via the Canada Helps button at www.bcssvictoria.ca.

For more information, visit www.wildplay.com/parks/nanaimo.