CENTERPORT, N.Y. (PIX11) — Would you jump out of an airplane if you found out it was on your late daughter’s bucket list?
One brave Long Island woman tried to do just that in her daughter’s memory after she died of a rare and aggressive cancer called Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors. Under threatening skies at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, the fifth annual angelversary fundraiser in memory of 17-year-old Maggie Schmidt, of Greenlawn, was held Friday.
The highlight of the evening was supposed to be Maggie’s mother, Donna DeSousa-Schmidt, skydiving and spreading Maggie’s ashes over the Long Island Sound. But it was not meant to be because of weather conditions.
“Maggie loved thunderstorms,” DeSousa-Schmidt told PIX11 News. “Because of the rain, I couldn’t jump, but I felt she was there with me.”
Instead, two professional skydivers from All Veterans Group made the jump from 5,000 feet above. In order for DeSousa-Schmidt to do a tandem jump with the professionals, she would have needed to jump from 8,000 feet above and weather conditions didn’t allow that.
But it was deeply emotional for all, regardless.
“Her mom gave me the honor to spread her ashes for her instead,” Jennifer Espinosa, an All Veterans Group skydiver, told PIX11 News. “It was a very special moment.”
Guests were all dressed in white to symbolize angels. Maggie’s Mission has raised more than $2 million over the past five years for rare pediatric cancers, thanks to guest donations and sponsors like New York Community Bank.
“When Maggie was facing the end of her life, I wanted to go with her,” Schmidt told PIX11 News. “But then I realized I have such a great beautiful family, my son, my husband, I had to go on.”
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