‘I want to skydive’: Venice grandmother, 96, takes leap of faith in honor of late grandson

Betty Weiblinger, 96, believes age is just a number.

"Up until now, mine was unlisted, but now everyone knows," Betty joked.

Weiblinger, who has four daughters, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, lives at Elmcroft of Bella Vita in Venice.

"I obey all the rules and do everything grownups are supposed to do," she shared.

When she was asked if there was anything she wanted to do, Weiblinger didn’t miss a beat.  

"I said, ‘well, I want to skydive.’ Everybody laughed and it was over," Weiblinger said.

However, Tanja Kociski, the healthy lifestyle director, wasn’t laughing.

"The safety of my residents is very important to me. I was a little skeptical about it, but seeing how much it means to her I had to let it go and make it happen," Kociski explained.

Kociski secured a flight with Skydive Sarasota through Second Wind Dreams, a non-profit that works to change the perception of aging.

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"He said put your arms out and we’ll fly, and we did. It was quiet and windy, but it was just so restful and so peaceful," said Weiblinger.

Up in the sky, Weiblinger’s thoughts turned to her late grandson. She was supposed to skydive with him for her 90th birthday, but bad weather canceled the flight. This jump was dedicated to his memory.

"Life is worth living. It’s a gift from God. So I’m living it," she said.

Her jump was a big moment, but Betty said it will never top marrying the love of her life, having her four daughters and finding her faith.

READ: 'I always wanted to dance': Bay Area woman fulfills lifelong dream of being a ballerina at age 76

"You want to be able to say when you go to bed at night well, I’ve lived this day to its fullest and that’s what I try to do," she said.

Weiblinger still has a lot she wants to do. She writes a weekly newsletter for her community and has written a book she hopes to publish.

Weiblinger says she will continue taking leaps of faith each day.

"I haven't quit living just because I’m 90. I have fun. I do a lot. Days aren’t long enough for me," she said.

For more information on Second Wind Dreams visit: https://www.secondwind.org/.


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