'The Sky's The Limit' for Minnesota Man; 100 Skydives in One Day for Parkinson's Disease Awareness and Funding

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On June 4, 2008, Kevin Burkart will complete 100 skydives -"100 Perfect Jumps" - in one day to raise funds and awareness for the Parkinson Association of Minnesota and the National Parkinson Foundation. Burkart's father has had Parkinson's disease for several years. Contributors can sponsor a jump in honor or memory of someone affected by Parkinson's for a donation of $100 or more.

When it comes to helping his father, Gary, in his battle with Parkinson's disease, Kevin Burkart says, "The sky's the limit," he means it literally. On Wednesday, June 4, 2008, Burkart will do 100 skydives in one day to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's Disease. This unique fundraiser, "100 Perfect Jumps," which will benefit the Parkinson Association of Minnesota (PAM) and the National Parkinson Foundation, will take place at Skydive Twin Cities in Baldwin, Wisconsin, 20 miles east of Hudson, Wisconsin.

Photos, video and document downloads are available here: http://www.perfectjumps.com/downloads

"I see this as an opportunity to do something I love for someone I love," says Burkart, 36, president of StepStoneGroup, a marketing, graphic design and promotions agency based in Savage, Minnesota. He has nearly 700 skydives in his skydiving career, and placed seventh at US Nationals in 2006, competing with a 4-way formation team called Fast Forward. The team won the Open Division of the Northern Plains Skydiving League that same year.

His father, Gary Burkart, of Shell Lake, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) in July 1999. PD is the second-most common progressive neurodegenerative disease, affecting more than one million Americans. Primary signs of the disease include tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement and poor balance.

Since his dad's diagnosis, both Kevin Burkart and his father have been very involved in efforts to raise money and awareness for PD. He has attended numerous conferences and served on the PAM board of directors for two years. He came up with the idea for The 100 Perfect Jumps in 2007, borrowing the idea from "Jump for the Cause," a skydiving event that raises money for breast cancer research.

For the event, Burkart will use two planes, six skydiving rigs, six parachute packers and a host of logistical volunteers that will assist with ground crew duties. He will exit each plane ride at approximately 2,200 feet doing a jump every 6-8 minutes for 10-12 hours. The day will begin at 6 a.m. and Kevin feels confident he'll meet the 100 jumps goal between 5 and 6 p.m. that day. As for the jumps, Burkart says, "They'd better be perfect!"

The objective of The 100 Perfect Jumps is to net at least $40,000 of proceeds. The steering committee is trying to attract both individual and corporate sponsors to meet this goal. Individual donors can sponsor a jump in honor or in memory of someone with Parkinson's disease for as little as $100. Members of the public are invited to come to the drop site to watch the jumps and take a jump themselves. A portion of the proceeds from jumps that week at the drop zone will go towards The 100 Perfect Jumps fundraiser. There will be food and activities for kids.

To learn more about sponsorship, donations or volunteer efforts, visit http://www.perfectjumps.com.

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Jackie Hunt Christensen
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