Great-Grandma, 79, Jumps From Plane

Courtesy of Carolyn Meiselbach

What do you do after you've survived six strokes, beat cancer twice and suffered from osteoporosis, arthritis and diabetes? If you're 79-year-old Carolyn Meiselbach, you go skydiving. Of course.

Meiselbach said she leaped into the upstate New York sky last month to settle some unfinished business.

"When I was young, I went through a 20-week parachute training course. But I was afraid to make the jump because there was no reserve chute," she said.

The great-grandmother took the leap from more than 13,000 feet up despite three doctors advising against it. She sustained only one minor injury, a bruise on the chest from where her pacemaker mashed up against the parachute harness.

The jump, she said, was terrifying. The worst part was sitting on the floor of "the narrow, dinky plane which was not exactly a 747? waiting for her turn to jump.

"I made the mistake of looking down," she said.

But as soon as the handsome instructor pried her hands from the plane's door and led her out into the air, she said it wasn't so bad. She concentrated on keeping her mouth closed so she wouldn't lose her teeth or look weird in the pictures.

Meiselbach is a 24-year resident of Carroll Gardens, one of the hippest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, N.Y. She served six years in the U.S. Navy and raised two sons as a single mom. Considering all she's been through, she said getting pushed out of a plane was a piece of cake.

She's planning a second jump for her 80th birthday in October.