Sally makes a leap of faith

On August 20, from an altitude of 12,500 feet, three generations of Sally Elston’s family will slip from a doorless aircraft, packs on their backs, and take a leap of faith!


Inspired by the journey of Derek Walton, that fearless Barrie Banker whose battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) has spawned his own charitable research foundation, Sally is challenging her friends, neighbours, fellow Rotarians, associates (and Examiner readers) to donate some dollars to sponsor her jump.  And, for every dollar sponsored, she’s matching it with funds from the Elston Charitable Foundation.


Sally and her late husband, Cy, together formed a foundation which has been gifting meaningful organizations with unexpected and much appreciated equipment to carry on important work.  It’s a grass-roots foundation and Sally frequently notices a need and simply makes it matter.


This Leap of Faith is one more step of generosity as Sally joins her daughter and grandson in this fundraiser.  August 20, near Cookstown, hosted by Sky Dive Toronto, the ‘Pals 3’ fundraiser will swell the coffers of Derek’s own foundation devoted to research for a cure for ALS.  His website,, tells a courageous story.


In fact, when Sally witnessed Derek’s first fundraising jump two years ago, 7 years into his ALS journey, she was absolutely inspired.  “I went to Derek’s first jump and I was overcome… the brilliance and sheer guts of Derek doing this at all… well, I was filled with admiration, and I said to my daughter last year… “if I can’t come up with a compelling reason to be out of the country in August, I’ll do it!”


Since she just got back from a trip, Sally sees herself, at age 72, buttressed into a parachute and ready to fly on August 20.


I asked if she was nervous.  “I’m looking forward to it,” she says.  What’s really given her enthusiasm is the response of people who have received her letter.  In 6 days, she’s received pledges of $6858, 34% of her goal, in true dollars.  And for every dollar donated, she’s adding a dollar.  Her ultimate goal for ALS research is $40,000.  One jump.  $40,000.  Talk about using your inspiration for power!


What’s interesting about this is how connected we all are to hope.  Derek’s battle has long outlasted most ALS sufferers… his considerably energy and determination has multipied into thousands and thousands of dollars raised for ALS research.  Along with that is absolute inspiration, not only for other ALS sufferers but for people like Sally who, in turn, use their energy to marshall community resources.


In all, this activity promises to do nothing but good.


Imagine Sally’s three generations and that gift that they’ll remember forever!


If this interests you and you’d like to sponsor this incredible community activist–Sally Elsto9n–you can do so by sending her an email at or you can log on to Derek’s website and travel from there.  Either way, you’ll be writing a cheque or clicking an online donation for an extremely worthy cause.


This disease attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, affecting voluntary muscle movement.  Sally remembers hearing one doctor describe ALS as the body committing suicide.  While little is known, funding research is a positive move towards developing a cure… a gift for thousands of sufferers.


Sally?  Thanks!  Thanks for being inspired by Derek and for inspiring the rest of us in turn!