Heysham grandmother to brave skies after terrifying health scare onboard plane

A grandmother who endured a terrifying health scare on a plane is planning to conquer her fear by doing a 11,000ft charity skydive.

Martine Rogerson, 52, from Heysham, became extremely ill on a flight home from Lloret de Mar in Spain in 2013.

She said: “I was really scared. I thought I was going to die.

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“I started getting tightening in my chest and my legs started to seize up.

“I was in excruciating pain. It was terrible. My blood was so congealed; it was jellified.

“I was really, really ill. They were even talking about having to land the plane early.”

At that time Martine was unaware that she had hemochromatosis – a genetic disease in which too much iron builds up in the body and can lead to organ failure.

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It is likely that this was the cause of Martine’s illness on the plane as the symptoms of lethargy and aching bones were the same and the altitude caused extreme pressure to build up in her body.

She explained: “I was in the process of being diagnosed when I flew back from a hen do in Lloret de Mar.

“Thanks to a wonderful lady doctor in Heysham who did a simple test, I now know I have hemochromatosis so I have regular blood tests to check that my levels are ok and I have blood taken.

“It’s basically too much iron in the body. I call it going to visit the vampires! I willingly give my blood as giving blood is so important. The nursing staff who take my blood do a wonderful job!”

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Amazingly, Martine, who works for JWK Solicitors in Lancaster, has signed up to do a tandem skydive for CancerCare North Lancashire and South Cumbria.

The skydive will take place at the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Cockerham on September 16 and places are still available for people who want to ‘Jump for CancerCare’ on the same day as Martine.

JWK Solicitors and The Royal pub at Heysham are two of Martine’s main skydive supporters and both have collection buckets and are putting names on her sponsorship forms.

Martine said: “Doing the skydive for CancerCare will be a big thing for me but I’m up for it!

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“The incident on the plane and the fact that I have severe claustrophobia, make it a real challenge for me. It has taken me years to get up the courage to fly again.

“I’m trying to get my friends involved too. It would be great to do the skydive with them.”

On the day of the skydive Martine will be supported by her husband Stephen Rogerson. Between them they have three children: Grant, 27, Matthew, 34 and Hannah, 30. They also have grandchildren called Kenzi, Tristan, Molly, Sofia, Ellie and Luke.

Martine said: “They are all gobsmacked that I’m doing it. When I told my mum she let out a massive squeal in Morrisons in Morecambe. They are all coming to watch. It will be a big family day.

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“Although I’ve got on a plane a couple of times since the incident, I’m still terrified and I have severe claustrophobia. The first time I got back on a plane was in 2017. Mind you, the claustrophobia shouldn’t be a problem as I’ll be jumping out into all that sky!

“I’m not saying I won’t be petrified but I do feel quite exhilarated about it. It’s a biggie!

“I think it’s partly because I’m doing it for a good cause.”

Martine also has a very personal reason for wanting to do the skydive.

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She added: “We lost Stephen’s mum and dad – Muriel and Tommy Rogerson – to cancer so that is why I’m raising money for CancerCare.

“My lovely memories of Muriel and Tommy really drive me to do things. They would say I’m off my rocker doing the skydive but they’d be proud as well.”

To sponsor Martine please go to her JustGiving page at: http://www.justgiving.com/Martine-Rogerson1

Martine also has collection buckets at JWK Solicitors at 5, Thurnham Street in Lancaster and 7, Skipton Street in Morecambe if anyone would like to make a donation.

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Everyone is welcome to apply to do the ‘Jump for CancerCare’ skydive on September 16.

For more information, a fundraising pack and terms and conditions, please go to CancerCare’s website at https://www.cancercare.org.uk/events/black-knights-skydive

To watch a video of James Marsh who did the skydive for CancerCare last year, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p34Ygk_Iyvc

You can call CancerCare’s Fundraising team to sign up to so the skydive on: 01524 381 820 or email [email protected].

The Black Knights website can be viewed at: www.bkpc.co.uk or call 01524 791 820.