Bungy jumpers bare all

Annual naked plunge raises funds for schizophrenia.

They came, they stripped, they jumped and raised more than $15,000 for the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society’s Victoria branch.

WildPlay Nanaimo hosted its fifth annual Naked Bungy Jump last weekend with more than 230 people baring it all in support of raising awareness for schizophrenia and psychosis.

Baring all had an ulterior motive for the jumpers who many sought pledges to help raise larger funds. Sixty fully-clothed spectators came out to join in the fun paying a $15 fee which was also donated to the society.

“It seems the Canadian spirit out shone the cold,”  said Tom Benson, CEO of WildPlay. “There was no shortage of people coming down to either watch or participate. We were thrilled by the enthusiasm and truly thank those who braved the weather – and the unavoidable breeze – to help raise the funds. We can’t expand the number of jumps without adding a day, so they remain highly sought after, but we can always take in more spectators.”

Hazel Meredith, executive director for the society’s Victoria branch, said in addition to significant funds raised, the event generated much needed awareness for the disease.

“Awareness is a key part of reducing stigma around mental illness and Naked Bungy 2011 achieved just that,” she said.

The British Columbia Schizophrenia Society is a non-profit organization, delivering programs to children, youth and adults, increasing awareness for mental illness, promoting social inclusion and providing family support services.