Andy and his mum say ‘yes’ to once-in-a-lifetime skydive

What does a mum do when she learns that her 31-year-old son has terminal bowel cancer?

Andys skydive

Diana Godden and son Andy decided not to sit around and mope. Instead they will both jump from a plane at 15,000ft, and raise money for research charities, which they hope will find a cure for others in future.

When they told me it was cancer, there were a few weeks of what you could describe as shock

said Andy, from Toxteth, Liverpool.

“Then I decided that moping wasn’t going to change anything. My general attitude is to get on and do things and live as normal and full a life as possible.

“I’ve always wanted to do a skydive, so this gave me the push I needed. I thought it would be good if I could raise some money at the same time.”

His mum Diana, 60, a teacher from Barnwood, Gloucester, didn’t need to be asked twice to join his skydive at Cockerham near Lancaster on September 30.

“How hard can it be?” she said. “I’m not afraid of heights – I’ve abseiled down the Gloucestershire Royal building and the Eagle Tower in Cheltenham.

I only have to do it once, and what better time to do it and for what better reason? It gives us something to focus on at a time when we feel so powerless.

Andy’s dad Mike will be on the ground taking pictures, along with his brother David and sister Maggie, and there’s an open invitation to friends and relatives who might want to join them on the day.

Andy, a former pupil of Sir Thomas Rich’s who now works for the computer games giant PlayStation, was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer which had spread to his lungs and liver in November 2016. “I was a typical man and I ignored the early symptoms, so here we are,” he said.

“I’m having chemotherapy and in terms of day to day, it’s just an inconvenience. I’m working more or less normally. I still play cricket for Sefton Park in Liverpool. I’m booking holidays and saying ‘yes’ to things.

“When mum said she fancied doing the skydive with me I thought ‘why not? – the more the merrier.”

His positive attitude has helped Andy’s family and girlfriend Jess to cope with the inevitability of his diagnosis.

“We’re absolutely in awe of Andy,” said Diana, a supply teacher at The Milestone School in Gloucester. “It’s not what happens to you in life that matters, but the way in which you deal with it. There’s been not a single word of bitterness or self-pity and that has given us all strength.”

The pair chose to support Bowel & Cancer Research and the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity in Merseyside because both focus on research.