A charitable thrill-seeker is planning a 10,000 foot skydive this May to raise funds to help patients to obtain medical cannabis.
Josie Nicholas from South Shields, UK, has worked as a patient coordinator for Sapphire Medical Clinics for nine months.
Its partner charity – Sapphire Medical Foundation – established in 2019, is the first of its kind in the UK that aims to reduce the financial barriers to those who want to access medical cannabis.
The Foundation was granted charity status in 2021 and fundraises in order to provide the full cost of medical cannabis prescriptions to patients, who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
The patients supported by the charity must meet certain criteria, which means that they often have the most significant health and financial needs.
“It’s just something that I genuinely do feel strongly about,” Josie said in a video on the charity’s website in which she talks about the jump.
“I feel like medical cannabis, talking to the patients every day, you hear a lot of feedback of how it’s changed their life.”
A patient coordinator is often the first point of contact for patients and they are trained in handling patient enquiries to help guide patients throughout their clinical journey from booking an appointment to receiving a prescription.
Josie explained that it was her father that motivated her to do a jump for charity after he did his own in 2018.
“He raised a lot of money from it and it just looked like an amazing experience,” she said, adding that it is a bucket list activity of hers.
“I thought I want to raise money for a charity that actually means something to us, and that I support and that I want to help grow.”
Josie has already raised over £1,000 of her £2,000 goal for the charity on her GoFundMe fundraising page – with over a month to go until her jump on 13 May.
Despite medical cannabis being legalised in 2018, medical cannabis is still not available on the NHS for the vast majority of patients.
This means that the only legitimate way of accessing medications is through private clinics which is too costly for many.
All of the cash Josie raises will go directly to covering the annual prescription cost for patients with the greatest medical and financial needs.
The charity will also support patients in accessing expert clinical support throughout their treatment, to optimise their care.
“Even if people could donate £1, £2, 20p – it all goes towards the cause. Any donations are massively appreciated,” she said.