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Trudy Goldman, 73, sat in her wheelchair Feb. 25, watching groups of children and young adults fly through the wind tunnel at iFly Denver, an indoor skydiving facility in Lone Tree.
She was preparing for her own flight, a wish granted to her by Wish of a Lifetime, a Denver-based nonprofit organization dedicated to granting wishes to deserving seniors throughout the nation.
“As a child, I always had dreams of flying and watching the people below,” Goldman said. “Now I’m gonna try to fly like I did in my dreams.”
Born and raised in Cuba, Goldman was diagnosed with polio at 17 months of age. Now, because of post-polio effects, she is a paraplegic bound to a wheel chair.
But she has never let her disability hold her back.
Goldman has lived an active life, studying in Europe as a teenager before moving to the United States, traveling the world and helping others as a social worker and long-term volunteer.
“Trudy is an amazing, inspiring woman,” said Amy Fogarty, activity director at Brookdale Arvada Senior Living Center, where Goldman now resides. “One of the things she said to me is you’re never too old to find something new to experience.”
Recently Goldman shared her dream to fly with Fogarty.
A video of Fogarty’s son doing an indoor skydiving lesson at iFly Denver, at 9230 Park Meadows Drive, is what sparked Goldman to talk about her dream.
In hopes of making this dream a reality, Fogarty submitted Goldman’s wish to Wish of a Lifetime.
“She said, `I’d give anything to do that,’ ” Fogarty recalled. “She said, `I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have my body free.’ ”
For Steven Glaser, program director at Wish of a Lifetime, granting Goldman’s wish was a no-brainer.
“By sharing inspiring stories of seniors, we hope to shift the way society views and values aging and the elderly,” Glaser said.
“Trudy’s wish was to go indoor skydiving — to feel that physical freedom, something that’s afforded to most of us.”
They immediately contacted iFly Denver to schedule Goldman’s flight.
iFly is the world's largest indoor skydiving company. The company has flown more than 9 million people in a dozen countries and at sea since launching the modern vertical wind tunnel industry in 1998.
“We’re really excited to have Trudy here,” said Marc Gibbons, sales manager at iFly Denver before Goldman took to the wind tunnel Feb. 25. “As soon as we heard about this, we were really excited, we wanted to be part of it — we wanted to make that dream come true.”
Goldman said she didn’t have any hope that her wish would be selected. But she was all smiles after the excitement of her two one-minute flights in the wind tunnel with the assistance of flight instructors.
“It really felt good, I felt weightless,” she said. “And the wind felt like it was giving my arms a massage. It was quite an experience.”
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