Alex Cowan jumps from 13,500ft to help fight multiple sclerosis

By Candice Krieger, May 29, 2008

She may struggle to walk, but that has not stopped West Londoner Alex Cowan from wanting to jump out of an aircraft. Ms Cowan suffers from the neurological condition multiple sclerosis (MS) and uses a wheelchair. On July 13, she plans to jump out of a plane flying at 13,500 ft, fall for 40 seconds, reach about 120 mph, and then float to the ground with the aid of a parachute.

“I needed a challenge and wanted to do something that would take me out of my comfort zone,” Ms Cowan, who is in her early 40’s, tells People. She was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago but says the condition has got progressively worse. “Sometimes having MS can be hard and frustrating, so I needed to do something extreme — something scary that I had never dreamed off. I also wanted to give something back that would benefit other people.”

She adds: “I don’t want MS to get the better of me.”

Ms Cowan, a member of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, spends a lot of her time promoting disability awareness and equality. Chair of Jewish Care’s disability services consultative group, she is advising the charity on inclusive access and design for its new Golders Green development. She also performs in wheelchair burlesque cabaret.

Is she nervous? “I’m really excited. I’d never wanted to do a parachute jump before, but when I was thinking about what I could do, it just popped into my head.” Proceeds will go to the MS Resource Centre and the MS Society.

Ms Cowan lives in Greenford with her husband, Lionel Roth.

    Last updated: 9:31am, May 30 2008