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Going for broke: Shotover Canyon Swing's James 'Salmon' Isted-Salmon, left, and charity jumper Jason Medina

By PHILIP CHANDLER

It started as a crazy idea but it’s set to be a huge fundraiser for St John.

Queenstowner Jason Medina’s planning on September 17 to complete up to 100 canyon swings with the ambitious goal of raising $50,000 for St John, while also raising awareness of mental health.

Fully swinging in behind is Shotover Canyon Swing, which will offer free jumps on the day to anyone donating to the cause.

Sales manager James ‘Salmon’ Isted-Salmon says there’s no doubt Medina will smash the
record — ‘‘I’d say the most we’ve had someone do is around seven or eight’’.

He’s jumped about six times in a row himself — ‘‘it gets tiring, so to try for 100 is pretty awesome’’.

Medina, 45, says the cause is personal to him after his struggles with mental health issues.

‘‘A little over 18 months ago, if it weren’t for St John and two local police officers, I wouldn’t be here — they rescued me from myself.

‘‘The two officers who saved me that day are going to come out and jump with me, and we’re looking at finding who the attending ambo officers were to have them onsite as well.’’

He’s hoping to get the message across that help’s available ‘‘before St John is necessary to
come and help you’’.

Getting in the swing: From left, charity jumper Jason Medina, local St John area executive officer Sarah Bloxham and Shotover Canyon Swing sales manager James ‘Salmon’ Isted-Salmon

But he’s also fundraising for St John because the ambulance service has taken a big financial hit during the Covid-19 crisis.

Medina’s specifically asking businesses and individuals to sponsor him for every jump he
does, which will also motivate him to keep going.

‘‘My dream is one corporate sponsor will come and say, ‘ok, Jason, we’ll give you $1000 for every jump’.’’

On the day, he’ll also aim to do as many of Canyon Swing’s 82 or so jump styles as possible.

St John’s South Island fundraising and marketing manager Debbie Zwies says they’re
extremely thankful to both Medina and Canyon Swing.

‘‘We’re just thrilled we’ve got organisations that are supporting us at a time that’s pretty difficult for us financially.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz

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