Paul Robitaille, a resident of Hudson Valley, New York, celebrated his 90th birthday in an unconventional way last month, when he skydived from a plane to raise money for Greystone Programs, an organization that supports children, adults, and families living with autism.
According to a March 2019 report by New York Upstate.com, Robitaille’s son Peter, who is diagnosed with autism, has been a beneficiary of Greystone for over 30 years. The skydiving event, known as the Leap for Autism, has been held by Greystone annually for the past four years. The event is open to tandem skydivers, experienced skydivers, and skydiving teams.
Robitaille hoped to raise $5,000, according to the report.
“Having my son happily living among his peers in our community where I can visit him weekly has been priceless,” Robitaille was quoted as saying.
In an interview with Hudson Valley Magazine, Robitaille said his interest in skydiving began two years ago, with a Leap for Autism event. In the interview, Robitaille said he was motivated to overcome his fear of skydiving in order to benefit individuals and families with autism.
Approximately 60 people jumped in this year’s Leap for Autism event, raising over $76,000.
According to New York Upstate.com, Greystone serves over 600 people in five Hudson Valley counties, and offers a wide variety of services, including community habilitation, afterschool programs, and in-home behavior therapy.