BETH Poynter knows a lot about being brave. When she was 13, she was diagnosed with a rare condition called vitiligo which means patches of her skin have no pigment.
The teenager battled through, and now, on her 16th birthday, will jump out of a plane at 10,000ft to raise money for two charities who helped her.
The 15-year-old, who lives in Stanton Harcourt, is hoping to raise £1,000 each for Changing Faces and the Vitiligo Society.
Beth, who goes to Bartholomew School in Eynsham, said: “I was diagnosed with vitiligo when I was 13, which is a fragile age.
“It changed the way I see things.
“I was very self conscious. I was trying to hide it and not bring attention to myself.
“Then I did some research and found a lot of people have it, and I realised I wasn’t that different.”
The Vitiligo Society helped Beth find other people with the condition who she could talk to, while Changing Faces helped her find make up so she could look the way she wanted.
Beth added: “I wanted to do something to say ‘thank you’.”
On March 16, her 16th birthday, she will jump out of a plane at 10,000 feet somewhere over Oxfordshire. It is the first day she can legally do the jump.
She said: “I wanted to do a sky dive for a while, but thought I might as well raise money for these good causes.
“It’s just the thrill of it, it’s something very different that not many people have done.
“At the moment I don’t think it has properly sunk in that I’m going to be jumping out of a plan at 10,000ft, but I am really looking forward to it. I think my mum is more worried than me.”
She joked: “If I get too scared to do it, someone will just have to push me out.”
Beth’s mum Michele Poynter, who runs her own business from the family home, said: “I was just blown away when she said she wanted to do it, but she just wanted to raise money for the charities.
“I said ‘darling, that’s amazing’, but I thought it was just going to be on the wish list.
“But she kept hassling me to book it, she is very tenacious.”
Mrs Poynter, 49, said: “I am just so proud of her. She has done it completely off her own back.”
Vitiligo is a long-term condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to lack of the skin pigment melanin.
It can affect any area of the skin but most commonly occurs on skin exposed to the sun, such as your face, neck and hands.
In the UK, about one in 100 people have vitiligo. It usually starts to appear at around 20 years of age although it can occur at any age.
The exact cause is unknown.
- To help Beth reach her fundraising target, go to virginmoneygiving.com/BethPoynter