One-armed Skydiver Triumphs Over Life-changing Injuries


Jun 17, 2013, 09:00 ET from National Parkinson Foundation

MINNEAPOLIS, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kevin Burkart will attempt a world skydiving record to benefit his father and all those living with Parkinson's on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. The event will be held from 5:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. at Skydive Twin Cities in Baldwin, WI.

Burkart launched "100 Perfect Jumps for Parkinson's" in 2008 after his father was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a progressive neurological condition that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement and coordination. He raised $48,000 by completing 100 skydives in one day. The following year, Burkart's "200 Perfect Jumps for Parkinson's" was hampered by the weather. He was still able to complete 150 jumps on behalf of the foundation. Unfortunately, the "300 Perfect Jumps for Parkinson's" event scheduled for 2012 had to be postponed due to injuries that changed Burkart's life.

On March 10, 2012, Burkart was seriously injured in a head-on snowmobile accident on the Canadian border in northern Minnesota.  He broke numerous bones including four vertebrae and suffered serious nerve damage in his left arm. The injuries proved to be debilitating and have left the skydiver, scuba instructor, water skier and all-around competitive athlete without the use of his left arm.

After surgery and with rigorous physical therapy, Burkart might regain limited elbow flexion and some mild finger usage in two to three years. The damage to his nerves do not allow Burkart to use a prosthetic arm. Despite the loss, he is determined to press on.

With some changes to his gear, Burkart is able to jump with just one arm. Due to this less-than-perfect arrangement, the 300 Perfect Jumps has been rebranded as "The Imperfect Jumps for Parkinson Disease."

Burkart has decided not to attach a specific number of jumps to the event. For safety purposes, he wants the flexibility of completing however many jumps his one good arm can handle. In addition to skydiving, other family-friendly activities will take place throughout the day.

The public is invited to join Burkart on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, as he attempts to complete a record number of one-armed skydives to benefit Parkinson's Disease research around the world.

Visit to sponsor a jump or watch footage of Kevin. All event proceeds go to benefit the National Parkinson Foundation and the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota.

The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NPFM) is a nonprofit, voluntary alliance, dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by Parkinson's disease, through fundraising, community building, advocacy, and increasing public awareness.  NPFM 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.

Ann Garrity

SOURCE National Parkinson Foundation