Birthday celebrations are often represented with cakes, balloons, and gift bags.
But for Lance Lefebvre, celebrating a milestone birthday last weekend meant free-falling from thousands of feet toward the ground – not just once, but 60 times.
In celebration of turning 60 on June 24, Lefebvre challenged himself by sky-diving 60 times in a single day at the Beiseker Airport. Starting in the early morning, Lefebvre hopped into a small-engine plane and made his way into the sky for his first of five-dozen jumps in a single day.
Feeling optimistic before the first free-fall, Lefebvre was eager to take his 60 jumps head on.
“Feeling pretty young actually, pretty optimistic we're going to pull this off,” he said before his first flight of what ultimately became a 12-hour day of jumping, landing, flying back into the air and repeating the process over and over.
Lefebvre first took on a similar challenge 10 years ago when he turned 50 by sky-diving 50 times in a single day. A decade later, he was ready to do it all over again and then some.
In addition to celebrating his birthday, Lefebvre said his sky-diving was to raise awareness of mental health and the importance of persevering through tough situations.
“When I did my 50 on 50, there was a period of time when I thought ‘No, I didn't need to do all 50, this was good enough,’ It was a mental turning point that I had to work my way through,” he said.
Jumping out of a plane is something Lefebvre is no stranger to, as he has been doing it for 25 years. He said the positive energy that everyone within the activity provides continues to drive his passion for sky-diving.
Lefebvre is a Skydive Extreme Calgary tandem instructor and a jump-master. He noted the support he’s received from his Beiseker-based team, mentioning that completing all 60 jumps on June 24 would have not been possible without their help.
“The camaraderie that comes within the sport itself, the love and care that happens with all the people that we have around us – it's really what keeps me into it,” he said. “I have an amazing team of people around me. My bosses are awesome – they’re providing me with the airplane.”
Sky-diving peaked Lefebvre’s interest as a child after a demonstration team visited his hometown in Ontario. He said the group did jumps at the winter carnival and he thought it would be a cool experience to try.
His father told him he was crazy after expressing interest in the activity, but Lefebvre decided to move ahead with his passion, regardless how crazy it seemed.
Lefebvre encourages those thinking about sky-diving to give it a chance. He said the experience is life-changing and helps build confidence.
“It's a very positive thing in your life,” he said. “It gives you faith in yourself. If you can do something like this, you can do anything in your life.”
Lefebvre said the work Skydive Extreme Calgary does is all about lifting the lives of those around them. He enjoys sharing the experience with others and spreading positivity.
“Everything we do here is about lifting personal life and personal happiness,” he said. “What happens in sky-diving is good for us. We really like to share that.”