On Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Prior Lake, Minnesota native Kevin Burkart took to the skies once again to attempt a world record 300 skydives in 24 hours using only one arm. The objective was to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson's disease. Kevin jumps for his father Gary who has been courageously battling Parkinson's disease since 1999.
Kevin has been a professional competition and tandem instructor skydiver since 2002. In 2008 he completed 100 skydives in one day and in 2010 he completed 150 skydives in one day. He was scheduled to attempt 300 skydives in a day in 2012 when a snowmobile accident paralyzed his left arm. He engineered a way to safely skydive with one arm and in 2013 completed 151 skydives in 24 hours for a new record. These three events raised $250,000 for Parkinson's disease.
His most recent attempt was weathered out by high winds gusting to 29 miles per hour and low clouds. Despite the challenging conditions he still completed 101 jumps on June 15.
"The turbulent winds made for very difficult landings, I really beat myself up, oftentimes falling from the sky and landing very hard," Burkart noted. "And I was amply prepared to jump throughout the night but we only do night jumps with perfect weather. The weather was far from perfect."
Nonetheless Burkart consider the event a tremendous success.
"We raised an additional $130,000 for Parkinson's, had the most well attended event ever and reached the most media ever. The day was about awareness and dollars for Parkinson's disease, it was not about the skydiving. We accomplished our goal and I'm very proud of everyone involved with the event."
All of the major news outlets covered the event including ABC, NBC, CBS, Today Show, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, CNN Headline News and People Magazine.
"Our team was so strong at both a local and national level the event is being dubbed as one of the most publicized Parkinson's events in history," said Julie Steen, Executive Director of the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota. "It was a real honor to be a part of something with such a positive impact."
MPR News: One Son. One Father. One Day. One Arm.
PR News Wire: Adaptive Athlete Announces 300 Skydives in 24 Hours
KARE11 Story: 300 Imperfect Jumps raises money for Parkinson's (Watch Interview Below)
My name is Kevin Burkart and I skydive for Parkinson’s Disease.
My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1999. For 17 years we have been deeply involved with the movement to create a better life for those living with Parkinson’s today and to try and find a cure for tomorrow.
In 2007, seeking a new and creative event that would combine my passion for skydiving with my passion for raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease, I created The 100 Perfect Jumps for Parkinson’s Disease.
One Son. One Father. One Day.
In 2008 I completed 100 skydives in one day and raised $48,000 for Parkinson’s Disease. A Parkinson’s disease event had never received this much media attention. We achieved our goal of reaching a new audience.
In 2010 we doubled down, going for 200 skydives in one day. We raised $78,000 for Parkinson’s disease, garnered significant media attention, and I completed 150 skydives in one day in spite of a 7 hour weather hold.
In 2012 I was going to attempt 300 skydives in one day but I was involved in a tragic snowmobile accident two months prior to the event. It changed my life. A spinal cord injury caused permanent loss of the use of my left arm. I was paralyzed.
I created a way to skydive with one arm and in 2013 returned to the skies and completed 151 skydives in one day with one arm and raised an additional $135,000 for Parkinson’s disease.
I want you to be involved with this prominent opportunity. Sponsor me, sponsor a jump, come out to the drop zone and enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, speakers and activities for adults and kids! It’s a dynamic, colorful, kid friendly environment. And you know you’re going to get to see me fall out of an airplane every four minutes!
Each jump is in honor or memory of someone afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, you will hear their stories.
One Son. One Father. One Day. One Arm.
Kevin L. Burkart
300 Imperfect Jumps for Parkinson’s Disease
All of the net proceeds will be split between the following two Parkinson groups
National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota
is a nonprofit, voluntary alliance, dedicated to improving the lives
of those affected by Parkinson's disease, through fundraising, community building, advocacy, and increasing public awareness.
It is a chapter affiliate of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF),
which sponsors research and treatment centers around the world. Membership is open to anyone wishing to promote Parkinson's disease awareness.
Learn more here: www.parkinsonmn.org
National Parkinson Foundation
NPF is the largest and oldest national Parkinson foundation in the United States. NPF supports Parkinson-related research, patient care, education, training, and outreach.
Learn more here: www.parkinson.org