I’m going to do it for my mum!

Andrew Ball who is doing a 14,000ft skydive to raise funds and awareness for Bipolar UK
Andrew Ball who is doing a 14,000ft skydive to raise funds and awareness for Bipolar UK

A teenager will spend his 18th birthday jumping out of a plane in memory of his mum who committed suicide when he was just eight.

Roseann was bipolar and had been struggling with depression for a couple of months before taking her own life on January 12, 2005, the day after she turned 44.

Andrew Ball now wants to raise money and awareness for Bipolar UK by jumping 14,000 feet out of an aircraft.

Andrew said he can remember the day his mum tragicaly took her own life but says the year after is just a blur.

“I woke up and my dad (Peter) got my breakfast and said my mum wasn’t feeling well and that I needed to go and say bye before I went to school,” he said.

“I went back upstairs and saw my mum curled up under the covers. I went and gave her a hug and a kiss goodbye and said ‘bye mum, love you’. And that was the last time I saw and spoke to my mum.

“On that day she decided that she couldn’t cope anymore and that she did not want her illness to affect my life and my dad’s life anyone and tragically took her own life.

“I came home from school and was ushered off to a neighbour’s house. Later that evening my dad told me that I would never see my mum again as she had passed away.

“Being so young I was not aware that my mum had Bipolar, and did not know anything about the illness. I was just told mum wasn’t feeling well when she stayed in bed for days at that age I just thought she had a cold or something.”

The Rastrick High School student said he struggles to remember the year that followed as he was still in shock. “I was in shock for a long time. I remember going to the funeral but didn’t cry and I was mad at myself for that.”

Jumping out of an aircraft at 14,000feet at Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancaster is a massive challenge for Andrew as he is scared of heights. “I am afraid of heights but I’m not scared of doing this because I am doing it for love of my mum so I think that is what is helping me to not feel scared.

“I am excited to do it and I’m just trying to raise as much money for the charity and awareness for the charity and everyone else that has it.”

Andrew had originally wanted to do the skydive on his mum’s birthday but the closest he could do it was February 1 when he will celebrate his 18th.

“The 17-year-old has already raised around £700 for the charity but is keen to raise more.

“It is a really important charity that often goes unnoticed. You can go to shops and often see different posters about illnesses such as cancer but a lot of people die from bipolar too but no one knows about it the same.

“I remember my mum was always up for a lot of fun and wanted to laugh and whenever we went shopping and she met up with friends she would stop talking and we would be there for ages.

“I just want to people’s support in helping me to raise as much money as possible to help support people like my mum who suffer with Bipolar.”

Andrew who lives at Castlefields Crescent will be washing teachers cars at the school on September 25 and is in the process of organising a bag pack at one of the supermarkets in Brighouse.

Anyone who wishes to donate can visit http://www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Ball6/ or drop into the school with a cheque payable to Bipolar UK. His name needs to be put on the back of the cheque.