A toy elephant named Ellie was taken on the ride of her life by Skydive Australia on Sunday to raise awareness and solidarity for sufferers of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS).
Ellie the Emesis Elephant is one of three plush “CVS Warriors” travelling around the world giving hope to other sufferers.
Wollongong woman Laura Joukador, 24, received the toy last week from a American sufferer Misty Nelson who created the initiative.
Ellie will remain as an Illawarra tourist for a month before being passed onto another sufferer in a different country.
Ms Joukador could never jump out of a plane because of her condition so she wanted to give Ellie that honour and share the story with hundreds of other sufferers through their online support group.
“It’s really severe violent vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain … and I just don’t understand how kids can go through it when adults suffer so much with it,” she said.
“That’s kind of why we banded together to show these kids there are adults all around the world who understand what they’re going through, we all support them and they’re not alone.”
Ms Joukador has been suffering from CVS for six years but only diagnosed two years ago because of the rare nature of the digestive condition.
The condition causes sudden, unexplained attacks of severe nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain – some episodes lasting a few hours to several days.
“You might grow out of it if you’re lucky but my chances are looking slim, I’m on medication to try and control the symptoms but there’s no real cure,” Ms Joukador said.
“Day by day you just wake up hoping you’re not going to be sick.”
CVS is not to be confused with gastroparesis, though both conditions can overlap in sufferers.