Thursday, October 21, 1999

Brother's cancer inspires 103 parachute jumps




BY RICHELLE THOMPSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

dalton
Phil Dalton jumps over Xenia in a bid to break his state record.
(Tony Jones photos)
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        XENIA — Kathy LeMaster suggested a bake sale. But son Phil Dalton figured he needed a flashier event to raise money and awareness for the alternative treatment his 12-year-old brother is receiving for a rare cancer of the brain stem.

        So Mr. Dalton, 23, of Colerain Township took to the sky Wednesday — 103 times, to be exact.

        At Skydive Greene County in Xenia, 60 miles northeast of Cincinnati, Mr. Dalton made 103 jumps between 7:45 a.m. and 7 p.m., a feat he claims beat the state record by two jumps.

mark
Mark Dalton, center, watches brother Phil makes jump No. 100.
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        “A bake sale wouldn't have drawn attention to my broth er's treatment like this would,” Mr. Dalton said. “He's my brother. We owe him every chance we can give him.”

        When his brother, Mark Dalton, was diagnosed with cancer in March, doctors gave a grim prognosis. The Colerain Township family turned to the Burzynski Institute in Houston for an alternative — and often controversial — treatment.

        Although the treatment does not have Food and Drug Administration approval, Mark's family said its success has been amazing.

        But it also has come with a price. Insurance won't cover the treatment, which costs about $7,200 a month. Mr. Dalton hoped Wednesday's event would raise at least $10,000, most of it pledged by LaRosa's Pizzerias.

        Friends, family and skydivers donated their time, helping pack parachutes and cheer on Mr. Dalton as he landed repeatedly on a large X.

        Most of the jumps went off without a hitch. But on the 20th jump, he had a scare when the primary chute wouldn't open. But the re serve parachute carried him safely to the ground.

        The Guinness-recognized world record is 301 jumps in 24 hours, set by Dale Nelson in Pennsylvania in 1988.

        While Mrs. LeMaster worried, Mark settled unfazed into his lawnchair. “I thought he could do it,” Mark said.

       



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