102-Year-Old Woman Becomes the Oldest Skydiver in the World as She Jumps Out of Plane for Charity
Irene O'Shea has kept her yearly tradition of skydiving since her first jump on her 100th birthday
Age — and height — are nothing but a number for Irene O’Shea!
Over the weekend, the Australian woman celebrated her 102nd birthday by going skydiving, a yearly tradition she has kept since turning 100. This year, however, was even more special as O’Shea became the oldest skydiver in the world, SA Skydiving confirmed to PEOPLE.
Plunging over 14,000 feet, O’Shea made the dive on Sunday with Jed Smith, the same instructor she previously jumped with.
“Irene and Jed completed a smooth, beautiful freefall, falling at 220kph [136.7 mph] through wispy clouds, before a smooth parachute opening,” SA Skydiving rep Matt Teager told PEOPLE, noting that O’Shea “was an absolute joy to have on the dropzone.”
Like in years past, the centenarian dedicated her fearless jump to her late daughter, who died from Motor Neuron Disease (MND). O’Shea has since partnered with the MND Association of South Australia to raise awareness and funds for the cause.
The disease severely affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing them to weaken, stiffen and waste, according to the MND Association. Medical professionals, however, are still not entirely clear on what causes MND.
“I lost my daughter to that terrible disease 10 years ago and I miss her,” O’Shea told the Herald Sun.
Since her first jump, O’Shea has raised close to $12,000 for MND, the news outlet reported. This year was no different, with SA Skydiving stepping in to help O’Shea raise the funds with a GoFundMe campaign.
In seven days, she has raised over $660 and hopes to reach a $10,000 goal.
Video footage of Sunday’s jump shows O’Shea, wearing an off-white cable-knit sweater and a hoodie, strapped to Smith in the specialized harnesses looking cool, calm, and collected.
As the duo glided through the air, they took in the spectacular views of Langhorne Creek, Lake Alexandrina, the Coorong, and the Murray Mouth, Teager told PEOPLE.
Upon their “perfectly-smooth landing,” O’Shea’s friends and family — including her grandchildren and great-grandchildren — were excitedly waiting to greet and congratulate her, Teager added.
Though many would assume O’Shea is an adrenaline junkie at heart, the centenarian told local reporters after landing, “as far as I’m concerned I’m the same as everyone else, just a normal person.”
With the successful jump, O’Shea claimed the title for the oldest person to skydive, bumping New Jersey resident Kenny Meyer from the top of the list by just 193 days, according to the Herald Sun. Meyer set the record in July 2017 after making the dive at 102-years-old, New Jersey Herald reported.
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Bryson William Verdun Hayes, a British D-Day veteran, previously held the record after breaking it in May 2017 at 101-years-old, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
“[Her] main wish is to raise as much awareness and money as possible for MNDSA,” Teager told PEOPLE. “Irene O’Shea is an inspiring woman, living her life to the fullest with incredible humility.”
In February, SA Skydiving and MNDSA will be hosting a large skydiving fundraising event to raise further awareness and funds for the cause.