Soaring Above: A Journey from Cancer Survivor to Skydiver Extraordinaire

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Skydiving Stories

In life, there are moments that define us. For Samantha Lederer, affectionately known as Sam, one such moment was her battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At just 25 years old, Sam’s world was turned upside down when she received the devastating diagnosis. Two and a half years later, Sam was able to stand tall as a cancer survivor and celebrate one year cancer-free by going on a tandem skydive at Piedmont Skydiving. 

“It felt like my entire life came to a halt. I was scared, I was angry, and most of all, I was heartbroken,” Lederer recalled about first learning of her diagnosis.

Lederer’s diagnosis came at a time of new beginnings. As a young woman navigating the landscape of adulthood, she had recently embarked on a fresh career path and found herself in a new relationship. However, this vibrant chapter of her life was abruptly overshadowed by the daunting specter of her Bulky Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis. 

Reflecting on those initial days post-diagnosis, Lederer recalled a frenzied flurry of medical appointments and treatment plans, leaving her without a moment to think. She was quickly pushed into six months of chemotherapy, and described it as an extremely fearful time in her life.

“It was really scary and just kind of one of those things where your whole life is just in somebody else’s hands and you just have to trust that it’ll be okay,” Lederer said. 

Sam also shared how “she wasn’t very good at that” when referring to letting go of control. Yet, just a little over two years post-diagnosis, Sam did the same thing when she chose to go on a tandem skydive at Piedmont Skydiving to celebrate her victory over adversity as a cancer-free warrior.

“I chose to go skydiving to celebrate being cancer-free for one year. I jumped exactly one year after receiving the news that I was cured,” Lederer shared, her voice filled with gratitude and excitement.

Samantha Lederer excited for a tandem skydive.

The road to the sky for Samantha Lederer was not without its challenges. Battling cancer was the greatest obstacle Sam had ever faced, and one in which she had to seek therapy and learn who to surround herself with.

“Cancer was definitely the biggest [challenge]. Becoming comfortable in my own skin again and pushing myself to stay healthy and to continue on with life after being diagnosed,” Lederer said.

Yet, through sheer determination and unwavering courage, she emerged triumphant. With her eyes set on the horizon, Sam embarked on her skydiving adventure with Piedmont Skydiving, a dropzone nestled between Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina. Piedmont Skydiving was recommended to her from family friends who had a great experience skydiving there before.

From the moment Sam arrived, she was met with warmth and professionalism from the Piedmont Skydiving staff. 

“Everybody is so nice there. Made me feel very safe, very comforted, answered any questions I had and just made it an all-around fun experience,” Lederer said.

As Sam ascended into the sky, her heart pounded with anticipation. The initial leap into the unknown was both terrifying and exhilarating. 

“Putting my legs over the side of the plane, I was like, excuse my language, holy s***, I have to do this,” Lederer said, recalling the adrenaline-fueled moment.

The descent was spine-chilling for Sam, but also a moment of solace. 

“It was like an out-of-body experience. I was nervous, but more excited than anything,” Lederer said. With each passing moment, fear melted away, replaced by an overwhelming sense of freedom and joy.

Samantha Lederer during her tandem skydive with Piedmont Skydiving.

For the cancer survivor, tandem skydiving was more than just a thrill-seeking adventure – it was a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. 

“I went through cancer and I jumped out of a plane, and I’m not really scared to do anything anymore,” Lederer declared.

As Sam touched down on solid ground, her spirit soared higher than ever before. In the vast expanse of the sky, she found not only exhilaration but also a renewed zest for life. 

“It was totally different [than I thought it was going to be]. It definitely beat my expectations 100%. It was awesome,” Lederer said.

To those who may be hesitating or fearful, Sam offered a simple yet powerful message: “Do it – it may seem scary and overwhelming, but it was so worth it.”

At Piedmont Skydiving, cancer survivor Samantha Lederer found more than just an adrenaline-pumping adventure; she found a community of support and encouragement. Whether you’re a first-time skydiver or a seasoned thrill-seeker, Piedmont Skydiving welcomes you to experience the thrill of tandem skydiving amidst the picturesque landscapes of central North Carolina.

So, what are you waiting for? Take the leap of a lifetime and soar with Piedmont Skydiving. Click the link here to reserve a tandem skydive or call (704) 603-7920 for more info.

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