Andrew Ball was just eight years old when he last kissed his mum goodbye before school.

Over the last nine years the Rastrick student has learned how his mum, Roseann, battled bipolar and tragically took her own life.

Andrew, 17, is now preparing to make a giant leap of faith by skydiving in her memory to raise funds for the bipolar UK charity.

“I remember her as fun and energetic,” Andrew said.

“She loved to talk, whenever we went shopping and she spotted a friend she’d be chatting to them for 20 minutes.

“She was always giving to charity too, she’d put money in the collecting buckets, and I think she was on the organ donor register, that’s the sort of person she was.”

It was on January 12, 2005 that Andrew last saw his mum.

He knew she was having a down day, so went into her bedroom before school.

Andrew added: “I kissed her, said I loved her and went to school and that was the last time I saw her.

“On that day she decided she could not cope and that she did not want her illness to affect my life and my dad’s life anymore.”

Roseann took her own life, aged 44.

Andrew added: “Being so young I was not aware that my mum had bipolar. I was just told mum wasn’t feeling well when she stayed in bed for days.

Rastrick High School student Andrew Ball doing skydive in memory of his late mum
Rastrick High School student Andrew Ball doing skydive in memory of his late mum
 

“I was about 12 or 13 when my dad spoke to me about it. He explained it in a way I’d understand and I’ve learnt more about it since then.”

It was after the tragic death of his baby nephew, Jayden, a month ago, that Andrew decided he wanted to do something for charity.

He saw a skydive for the bipolar UK charity and knew at once that he’d jump in tandem out of a plane in his mum’s memory.

The teenager, studying for a BTech in sport and science, added: “I’m scared of heights but strangely I don’t feel nervous about it.

“The reason I’m doing it is the love for my mum, which makes me excited to do it.

“She’d probably think it was a crazy thing to do but would be proud.

“I can’t change what has happened but I can try and help others who are going through the same pain and suffering that my mum went through.

“It’s my way of remembering her.”

Andrew is supported by dad Peter, sister Vicky, 31, and brother David, 34.

His friends at Rastrick High School and Sixth Form College are also rallying around – on October 25 they’re doing a sponsored car wash of teachers’ cars to raise funds for the charity, and they’re hoping to do bag packs at local supermarkets.

Support Andrew at:

www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Ball6 .

FACTFILE

Bipolar – sometimes known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness.

1% to 2% of the population experience bipolar.

On average it takes 10.5 years to receive a correct diagnosis for bipolar in the UK and there is a misdiagnosis an average of 3.5 times.

Bipolar UK say an early diagnosis is key along with acceptance of the illness.

Medication, health care, therapy and self management help control bipolar.

Visit www.bipolaruk.org.uk