Most 19-year-olds might not be thinking about their "bucket lists," but for a young Melbourne man suffering from life-threatening cancer, his wishes are growing by the way.
Gaige Robbins got the surprise of his life Friday. His family told him to get in the car, but they didn't tell him where they were going.
"Nah, let's jump out of airplanes. That's cool!" Robbins said as they arrived at Skydive Sebastian.
His wish to float in the clouds was about to begin. Within minutes, an instructor was harnessing him up for his tandem jump.
Gaige is used to stress. The former healthy high-school athlete joined the Marine Corps right after graduation. But not long afterward, 19-year-old Gaige found out he had stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that begins in the cells of the body's immune system.
Gaige has gone through six chemotherapy treatments so far, including a marathon 96-hour one. So far, no success.
That prompted him to make a bucket list. On it, he included skydiving.
"I can feel it already," Gaige said as he was about to board the plane. "I'm going to say goodbye to the ground first."
"He's been through a lot," his father, Shane, said as he waved to his son. "He can do this. It's no problem for him."
And off they went, destined for 9,000 feet above the ground. Minutes later, it was time to take the plunge.
Under the blue skies of the Space Coast, Gaige floated to the ground.
"Oh man, that was the best rush I've ever had in my life," he said right after he landed safely back on Earth.
Through all the chemo — and good days like this one — this man, battling a deadly disease far too young, has a message for others like him:
"You've got to keep your head up, whatever it is that helps you keep going — whether it's faith, your friends or anything, like skydiving, or even family," Gaige says.