To help save her family, Lori Galina is willing to take a giant leap of faith — right off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Galina, a resident of Pittsburgh who used to live in San Francisco, wants to bungee jump off the famous Bay Area icon as a way to raise money and awareness for breast cancer and heart disease — two ailments afflicting members of her family.
Unfortunately for Galina, unless the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District pulls a dramatic about-face, her bungee-jumping plans aren’t going to happen.
District spokeswoman Mary Currie said the district will only issue special-event permits for intended uses of the bridge. The district has no qualms about opening up its public spaces for sanctioned events, such as cancer walks and road races, but bungee jumping doesn’t fall into one of those categories. Last year, the district signed off on 38 special events, with most of them having to do with running or walking, Currie said.
Currie said the district occasionally gets a quirky request for a special event — about 15 years ago the Ringling Bros. circus asked if it could walk some elephants over the bridge — but safety and security reasons often make them unrealistic.
And the bridge, always a magnet for jumpers, also has been especially deadly this year. Through the end of July, 22 people have leapt to their deaths off the span, just three fewer fatalities than all of last year.
Despite the bridge district’s insistence, Galina remains committed to her plan. She said she’s reached out to the Governor’s Office for special permission, and she’s trying to rally local support for her cause to help sway the district to change its policies.
“I’ve got my heart dead-set on doing this,” Galina said. “I want the people of San Francisco to show they have heart, too, by letting me jump off that bridge.”
The outlandish idea came from Galina’s 20-year-old son. And despite some initial reservations, she said the exploit would provide the best venue to air her story.
“I’ve never bungee jumped before, and I’m actually scared of heights,” said Galina, who lived in San Francisco in the late 1980s before returning to her native Pittsburgh. “But I honestly can’t think of a better way to bring attention to what my family is experiencing.”
Galina’s 72-year-old mother is suffering from breast cancer, and her 79-year-old father has congestive heart failure. Galina has health problems of her own — she recently had two stents placed inside her heart — but she said she’s confident she could pull off the brazen feat. She said if she can pull off the stunt, she’ll ask people to donate money to the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Number of approved special events on the Golden Gate Bridge:
Source: Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District