Kevin Burkart single-handedly broke a world skydiving record -- literally -- all to raise awareness for Parkinson's disease.
At 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Minneapolis man made his first descent of the day in Baldwin, Wis., breaking the world record for most one-armed jumps. He had already gone skydiving thousands of times before a 2012 snowmobile accident left him with a permanent spinal cord injury.
"I can no longer use my left arm, and I didn't want to give up skydiving, so last year, I figured out a way to make it happen," Burkart said.
"It's not something you can practice, either, you just have to go and do it," Burkart said. "I've made the equipment adaptive; I've made several adjustments, too. The most significant is a carabineer that I pre-install on the left steering toggle so then when the canopy opens, I connect the steering toggles together with the carabineer and steer with that."
Losing the use of an arm is enough to halt anyone's daily activities, but Burkart was already on a mission.
Fourteen years ago, Burkart's father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and his struggle prompted Burkart to hatch an idea in 2007: He'd use his adrenaline to raise money for the National Parkinson's Foundation of Minnesota.
In one day in 2008, he jumped 100 times and raised $48,000 for the foundation.
Reporting from an on-site ambulance, Burkart says he's raised over $100,000 throughout his pursuit. He told FOX 9 News that the ambulance visit comes standard – he reaches jumping altitude in 45 seconds, and the g-force acceleration experienced in each jump requires him to take anti-nausea medication, and an IV keeps his fluids in balance.
Now that he's snapped a world record, he said he'd continue to jump as many times as he could on Wednesday.
"[My father] is having a tough time with it, it's a very difficult disease," Burkart said. "It's a tragedy. We've got so many people that are affected by it, it's nice to be able to make a difference for them."
By 7:30 a.m., he'd already jumped 20 times, and it's safe to say he'll tally hundreds more in years to come.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can learn more about Kevin Burkart's mission and make a donation at http://www.Perfectjumps.com