Twenty-six police officers and one cancer researcher took to the skies last Sunday to raise funds for childhood cancer research. The inaugural Great Cop Drop was inspired by Isla, a little girl diagnosed with leukaemia four years ago.

Darrin Batchelor is a Detective Inspector in the NSW police force. Four years ago his daughter Isla was diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The following weeks and months were a blur of tests and treatments. Isla received her last treatment two years ago on 1 November 2016 and is now in remission. Read Isla’s story.

Wanting to raise funds for our research, Detective Inspector Batchelor came up with the idea for the Great Cop Drop. He got approvals from the Public Affairs department and the Commissioner, and even persuaded the Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones to take part in the skydiving event.

Police from all over the state were invited to join in. Twenty-six officers took part, most coming from Sydney, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Northern Beaches. Each participant was tasked with fundraising at least $1000, with a total goal of $40,000. The current total raised is $38,721. Visit the Fundraising page.

Taking her research to new heights

One of our researchers was invited to participate. Research Officer Dr Anushree Balachandran volunteered, and was delighted to be chosen.

photo of the sky-divers standing on North Wollongong beach
Dr Anushree Balachandran (second from left) on North Wollongong beach with her team of dropped cops

This was actually the second time that Dr Balachandran has jumped out of a plane, but it was even more amazing than the first. She was surprisingly calm throughout the whole experience.

“Skydiving is the closest I’ve come to experiencing Zen,” she said. “The view from 15000ft is astoundingly beautiful. You feel like you’re suspended amongst the clouds and are so mindfully absorbed in the present that it’s very liberating.”

Dr Balachandran enjoys the view on the way down
Dr Balachandran enjoys the view on the way down

“I had the chance to talk with Darrin Batchelor, which was wonderful,” she continued. “It really brought home for me the importance and impact of our research.

“I feel very privileged to have been chosen for this event. To skydive is to cross the boundary of what you think is possible.  But with a certain determination you cross it. And it’s with this determination that we’re working towards curing childhood cancer.”

The event was a great success. Detective Inspector Batchelor is hoping to run it again next year, and to open it up to all emergency services – police, firefighters and paramedics.

“Every dollar we raise goes to the labs, to their research … so other families can benefit like we have,” he said.

Watch the Great Cop Drop

 

Top image: NSW police and Children’s Cancer Institute combine forces to raise funds for childhood cancer research



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