Shawn Kelso’s Big Jump

February 13, 2023
Staff Stories

Congratulations, Shawn, on conquering your fears! Shawn Kelso, Partner in our Ottawa office has achieved his long-time bucket list item: bungee jumping!

Shawn’s daughter, Abaigh, currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. While on vacation to visit his daughter, Shawn thought he would be able to make the arrangements for the two of them to make the dive. He planned the trip around a bungee location in Whistler, over 1.5 hours away from Vancouver.

“My daughter Abaigh mentioned that she wanted to bungee jump while we were on vacation once,” Shawn tells us. “She was not old enough at the time, but I was impressed that she had the nerve to do it.  It got me thinking whether or not I would be able to talk myself into such a thing.”

Unfortunately, during Shawn’s trip, his daughter was unable to escape her school and work schedules, leaving Shawn on his own to commit to the experience. Despite the change in plans, Shawn decided that he would not back out of the event. It takes focus and extreme amounts of motivation to follow through with a goal, especially one that terrifies you. So how did Shawn end up making the jump all on his own?

“I made sure I had a busy itinerary that day and really didn’t think about it much until I arrived at the jump site. The team there was very friendly and did a very good job preparing me and talking me through the process.”

From the moment he arrived, Shawn did not have a single minute to pause and reflect on what he was about to do. One instruction came right after the next, and before he knew, his toes were over the edge of the bridge.

“Just when the voice inside your head starts to tell you “hey moron this is absolutely nuts…you should not be doing this”, the jump team starts the count down.  For some reason the countdown convinces me that it’s too late to back out now… and seconds later I am plummeting head first towards the ground at 9.8 meters per second.”

Whistler Bungee is known to be one of the most scenic bungee jumps in the world, surrounded by basalt column cliffs and a dense forest, with a view of Black Tusk mountain in the distance.

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure I had the courage to actually go through with it. I think the Faith over Fear fund gave me the extra nudge I needed so I have Garth to thank for that.”

The jump itself is 160 ft over the beautiful Cheakamus River, lasting less than 30 seconds. It wasn’t until Shawn was being hoisted back up from the bottom of his jump that he was able to take it all in.

“It reminded me a lot of some of the courageous entrepreneurs we work with.  Many of them have safe and secure jobs and families to support.  Starting a business in such a circumstance can be a very nerve racking pursuit.

It is pretty easy to talk yourself out of doing something that is outside your comfort zone. Sitting on the sidelines is safe but what’s the fun or the challenge in that. Sometimes you just have to put your toes over the edge…stop looking over your shoulder…and jump.”

Shawn would not have been able to complete this bungee jump without the encouragement of his family, friends and colleagues, especially Garth Steele.

“Garth is an amazing colleague and mentor.  He achieved so much in his time at Welch and was always an exemplary leader.  He is someone I respect very much. The faith and courage he is exhibiting as he battles ALS is inspiring. He has helped me overcome many challenging circumstances throughout my career at Welch. Helping me conquer my bungee jump bucket list item is another accomplishment I can thank him for as well.”

Shawn’s bungee jump experience is definitely one he will never forget.

Learn more about the Garth Steele Faith Over Fear Fund.

Alexei Vidal
Marketing Specialist

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