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Grand Haven woman celebrates 81st birthday by skydiving as she's always wanted

After seeing skydivers from home, an 81-year-old suited up to celebrate her birthday in style, sending a message that it’s never too late to try something new.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — After years of it sitting on her bucket list, Diane Dabakey took to her local skydiving center shortly after turning 81.

“They’re all here, every one of them,” Dabakey said with a smile, gesturing to her neighbors and family members who came to watch. “I’m just ready to get strapped up and go, go, go!”

Though her son did express concerns, Dabakey continued on with the lessons provided by employees at Skydive Grand Haven, soon earning respect from her fellow skydivers after offering to jump out first.

With applause from family and friends, the 81-year-old soon became weightless thousands of feet in the air.

“I just looked around and I thought it was awesome, and I will do it again next year,” she said.

Dabakey said she’s been saving her money from casino-wins in order to make the dive possible.

In addition to returning to the sky next year with her son and possibly a few friends, her next venture is to one day travel to Hawaii. At 81, Dabakey said she walks everyday and exercises regularly.

She said people are never too old to try something new.

“They should give it a try,” Dabakey said. “If you really want to do it, do it, ‘cause you never know what tomorrow brings, so I’m going to do everything I can, when I can.”

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