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JP Lands Successful Skydive Jump Five Years After Plane Crash

JP (bottom) performs a successful tandem skydive jump to celebrate his recovery from brain injury.

Exactly five years after a devastating plane crash left JP with a traumatic brain injury, the skydiving enthusiast commemorated his successful rehab by jumping out of a plane.

Close to 20 supporters, including coworkers, rehab staff, family and friends, gathered at the Abbotsford Skydiving Centre on Saturday, August 3 to witness the monumental jump.

"My life has changed a lot since the accident and since the years of rehab," said JP. "I have a different perspective. I am living life to the fullest."

Following the jump, JP joined the crowd, thanked everyone for their support throughout his rehab, and presented a cheque for $100,000 to the Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation.

"Michael was my roommate at CONNECT during my rehab and he is an inspiration to me and so many others," said JP. "He's the strongest, most courageous man I know."

CONNECT resident Coss received the cheque on behalf of his foundation with a short speech, a hug for JP and the advice, "Never give up."

JP's brother, Emile, and niece, Kim, travelled from Regina to attend the jump.

"The last time I was out here was when he had his accident five years ago," said Kim. "It was awful. He was like a zombie. "

She said she was supportive of the jump as the final step in JP's recovery.

"It's like he has come full circle. It's incredible to see him now and how far he's come."  

Onlookers' eyes were skyward as several parachutes became visible circling overhead.

As JP, who was flying tandem, touched down and his supporters cheered, he said to his tandem partner, "It's good to be back." The jump marks his 1,857th jump.

JP said he will forever be grateful to his brother, Emile, who saved his life following the crash because he wouldn't let him give up.

Even though the accident left JP unresponsive and unable to recognize his own brother, Emile wouldn't let the priest give JP his last rights.

Alexander Fernandes, the founder and President of Avigilon, a company JP co-founded and continues to work for, was in attendance for the jump and was also thanked by JP.

"Alex has done an incredible job with the company and has brought it to a whole other level," JP told the spectators. "I am super proud and thankful and now it's time for me to get back to work. This company is the best in North America. Now I want to help make it the best in the world."

As a last piece of advice for anyone hearing about his story, JP added, "If you've never tried skydiving, you must do it at least once …because I know why the birds sing."

For more information about CONNECT, visit www.connectcommunities.ca.

For more information about the Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation, visit http://www.secondchancestepbystep.org/.