Tandem BASE Jump Impacts Winner & Family She Leaped For
Nikki Walker's journey to jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge has ended with many triumphs.
For one, the little girl she was leaping for, Maggie, has had some positive news. After being diagnosed with rare neuroblastoma cancer at only 3 years old, she has undergone chemo, and it so far seems to be working.
When Maggie was diagnosed with the condition, her bone marrow showed a 75% presence of neuroblastoma. After treatment, that's down to just 10%. Her tumor has shrunk, and she will soon be able to have surgery to remove it.
Nikki raised a banner of awareness when she entered the Bridge Day Tandem BASE Jump Contest to win a $1,000 donation from Subaru for Maggie's family. The community saw and answered the call, voting her video to the top in a close win just before the deadline.
And that's not the only time Nikki and the community have rallied behind this family in need. 45 bikers recently rode in a benefit for Maggie, which concluded in an event with music, food raffles and more at Charley's Harleys. It raised $2,400.
The next day, 118 runners came out to a 5k/10k run. After long stints of feeling sick from her treatments in previous weeks, Maggie even felt good enough to come cheer them all on.
A Red Basket donation fund online raised another $4,492.
Supporters have sold shirts, made bracelets, baked cupcakes, crafted artworks for raffles, and encouraged Maggie to keep fighting. She has a lot of dedicated people fighting behind her.
Including Nikki, with her 876-foot leap into the New River Gorge.
"It was as though my body was void and full all at once," she said of the fall. "So much raw energy. I had an idea that it'd feel amazing; but as to what degree, I greatly underestimated."
Before the big jump, Nikki said she was hoping the jump would give her a metaphorical reboot, a change to leave her negative experiences behind her and start refreshed.
Did it work? No. Or, at least she didn't think so at first.
"I was paralyzed with joy from such an amazing experience and from the help its brought on for Maggie, but I didn't feel a change."
But a few kind words made her realize it had more of an impact than she thought.
"A coworker I was breezing by stopped me to say I walk and act different," she said. "I asked her to explain, and she replied that she wasn't sure, except I walk with more confidence."
She said that confirmed for her that the jump had an impact.
"It may seem small to someone else, but that's an incredible thing to hear for me," she said. "I realize change doesn't happen over night. It takes time. And to nod at my coworkers compliment, it also takes baby steps."
Positive personal changes, and very good news for little Maggie.
It's not the end of her battle, though. Maggie will still need a bone marrow transplant after her surgery. But she has a whole community of support and positive wishes behind her. Stay tuned to see what else they'll be doing to help her through her fight.