Friday, February 4, 2011
Medical Reports: Falling Fast
A Miami man isn't letting a list of medical problems keep him down. He's found a way to keep his mind off his problems and a way to feel normal even for just a few minutes. 7's Richard Lemus shows us why he lives for Falling Fast.
WSVN -- While most people fear jumping out of a plane, John Keith lives for the thrill. You'll find him suiting up and taking the plunge two or three times a week at Skydive Miami in Homestead.
John Keith: "It gives me a reason to get up in the morning, something to look forward to."
At 69-years-old he's a lot older than most of the people at the drop zone, but the retiree says the adrenaline rush and the instructors keep him young.
John Keith: "I come down here and I'm 18 again. I'm with the boys, I'm having a good time."
It's not all just for fun for John, skydiving is medicine.
John Keith: "For 60 seconds I'm normal I can forget everything that is wrong with me."
John has faced testicular cancer, melanoma and parkinson's disease among other illnesses.
John Keith: "I never thought that I would have every doctor in Dade County as my best friends."
His biggest daily fight is parkinson's his hands constantly shake making simple tasks difficult.
John Keith: "You just have to relax, and say 'OK I used to do this in five seconds and now I'm going to do it in five minutes."
That's where skydiving comes in. He's now done at least 500 tandem jumps and says the sky is the one place his illness can't get the best of him.
John Keith: "Parkinson's disease is problems with small micro movements, skydiving is macro movements, pull the rip cord grab the risers land."
Trevor Cedar: "It's just pure physics, you've got no gravity and weight on those joints, muscles."
Trevor Cedar: "This is John's 100th jump, you can see he is linked up with other skydivers in the air."
Over the years, tandem instructor Trevor Cedar has seen all the good skydiving can do for those who are sick or disabled and he's inspired by all of them especially John.
Trevor Cedar: "He is the sort of guy if you're having a bad day, and your complaining, you might want to say not so much if you look at what John has been through."
Every safe landing puts Kohn back to reality so jumping out of an airplane is medicine. He says he'll keep taking as long as he lives.
John Keith:" I told the guy when I'm gone take my ashes up to 13-5 and not a foot lower, and throw them over."
Richard Lemus: "John's 70th birthday is coming up and of course, he'll be flying high with his skydiving brothers."
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