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As seen in the East Meadow Patch: Rick Collins’ Leap for Cancer Awareness

By Michael Ganci, East Meadow Patch

For Rick Collins, raising money and awareness for cancer research seemed like the right things to do.

Collins, a partner at Collins, McDonald & Gann, created “Leap for Life” in 2009, and each year, Collins has donated his time and money toward raising money for various charities.

“I had a few friends and a relative who were all diagnosed with cancer,” Collins said. “I wanted to do something to make a difference.

Collins, who had written books on and is very involved in fitness, went with his cousin Donny to buy his first set of weights. Donny was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and he died at 21. Collins’ training partner, Dan, also died at 34 due to cancer. Dan dreamed to jump out of a plane to raise money for cancer research, and Collins has kept that dream alive.

“Everybody knows somebody that’s been diagnosed with a different kind of cancer,” Collins said. “It’s something that really touches us all.”

As Collins got older, he developed a fear of heights, but as he says in one of his books, it was time to conquer his fears, and he jumped from over 13,000 feet high to the ground, and he said it’s an experience that is not easily forgotten.

“If you are afraid going in, this is something that could change your life,” Collins said. “Nothing seems so high to me anymore after doing something like this.”

In 2009, Collins’ first solo leap raised more than $15,000 for the American Cancer Society. In 2010, close to 100 jumpers worldwide raised nearly $40,000 for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation. On Oct. 9, Collins will join friends and family to jump for two charities, including Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which has raised $40 million since its inception, and Strength for Life, a New York-based not-for-profit dedicated to assisting men and women who are living with cancer.

After the initial jump, the free-fall speed sits at 120 miles-per-hour. Then, after the parachute is released, it’s a seven-minute ride to the ground.

“It’s something I take great pride in,” Collins said. “These are great charities, and we hope to do all we can to help.”

For more information on how you can join the “Leap for Life” and for information on how you can contribute, visit Collins’ website.

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