It’s a long way down.
That was Kitty Gaucher’s final thought before she plunged from a bridge over the Nanaimo River in a bungy jump March 24 to celebrate her 70th birthday.
“That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done!” she exclaimed to the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial a few days after the jump.
“I felt so much fear and anxiety, but I told myself I could do it even though I didn’t want to,” she said. “Now, I feel empowered. That’s another accomplishment from my bucket list.”
Before the 150-foot plunge at the Nanaimo River’s WildPlay Element Parks, Gaucher tucked a picture of the son lost in a motor vehicle accident 12 years ago into a pocket “so he jumped with me” and smoothed “Kitty” duct tape across her mouth “to keep my dentures in.”
The breast cancer survivor wore a pink Believe T-shirt as she followed jumps by daughter Nova and grandson Mitch, a Camosun College student.
About 40 relatives and friends waving signs turned out under sunny skies to encourage grandmother Gaucher to fulfill her dream. Among them were parents from the licensed day care she ran in Victoria and a surprise carload from Kitimat.
“It was the biggest shock when we drove up and saw my adopted son Noel, his wife Michelle and their daughter Brandy, who drove the round trip of 1,800 miles to support me,” she said.
Another surprise was that WildPlay unexpectedly gave her the jump as a birthday gift and asked her to sign a model release to allow photos to be used by the company. She was pleased on both counts, she says.
“She did really well,” said partner Richard Colley proudly.
The retired couple has lived in the Echo Heights area of Chemainus for five years.
“There was no pain; it’s a surprisingly gentle spring back,” explained Gaucher, who says she didn’t have to train because she’s in good shape.
Gaucher says falling in love with Colley and travelling “all over the place” have been memorable bucket list milestones.
Another item she remembers fondly is swimming with dolphins in Hawaii and the Caribbean.
“That was so calm and gentle. This was so different.”
Another bucket list item is to try dragon boating. Gaucher recently signed up with Cowichan Valley Dragon Divas and will apply to pose nude in their next diva calendar.