(PRWEB) August 17, 2012
Individuals eager to serve their communities no longer have to choose between doing what they love and making a difference, says faith-based website, followme.org.
That statement came today in response to the story of a Michigan man who jumped out of a plane 70 times on his seventieth birthday to raise money for charity.
Ekstrom, an avid skydiver from Madison Heights, MI, completed the feat to celebrate his turning 70 and to raise money for charity, according to Detroit’s WDIV. Beginning at 8:30 on Wednesday morning, Ekstrom began jumping, finishing his seventieth jump ten hours later.
“I just wanted to do it. It’s just another milestone and proves somebody can do something,” he hurriedly told WDIV before jumping back into the small Cessna plane for another jump. Ekstrom, a metal model maker at the General Motors Technical Center, told the New York Daily News that he has completed 13,476 jumps in his lifetime.
So, with the help of a small crew of people to help Ekstrom prepare his gear for each jump, the 70-year-old took to the skies. Each jump was from about 2,000 feet and lasted two and a half minutes, he told the Daily News.
But why celebrate his birthday this way? Ekstrom jumps not for his own sake but for the sake of causes he cares about. Last week, he jumped to raise money for Leader Dogs for the Blind, a Rochester Hills, MI, organization that provides service dogs for the visually impaired. According to the Leader Dogs website, the organization has provided over 14,000 dogs for blind people worldwide.
This is not the first time Ekstrom has jumped for a cause close to his heart. When he turned 60, he skydived 60 times to raise $6,000 for multiple sclerosis research. His wife suffers from MS, he told WDIV.
What do non-profits think about Ekstrom’s unconventional fundraising strategy? Faith-based website, followme.org, says that Ekstrom’s jumps “open up all kinds of possibilities” for individuals interested in serving.
“We tend to think that, if we enjoy something, we cannot use that thing to serve others—that service has to be painful for us. Ekstrom’s story shows that you can do what you love, and you can do it for a great cause. He’s making a difference and he’s having fun doing it,” said Pastor Jamie of followme.org.
And there’s no sign of Ekstrom hanging up his parachute soon, he told the Daily News. He hopes to continue his fundraising efforts by performing 80 jumps on his eightieth birthday. For more information, visit Ekstrom’s website.