Parachuting with a Purpose: Local US Marine Corps Veteran BASE Jumps to Raise Awareness of Veteran Suicide
The number of service men who were killed in action in 2019 is the same number of veterans who die by suicide each and every day.
Pittsburgh Veteran Tristan Wimmer returned to the skies of his hometown to bring attention to this national crisis.
On Jan. 30, 2021, Wimmer teamed up with other Veterans to complete 22 BASE jumps — 22 is symbolic of the 22 United States Active Duty and Veterans who succumb to suicide each day.
The jumps were held as part of the 2nd Annual 22Jumps event at Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ, beginning 6 am (MST) and continued throughout the day.
Wimmer’s brother took his own life in 2015 after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Iraq while serving in the United States Marine Corps. The event, 22Jumps, started last year as a tribute to his brother, but quickly drew local and national media attention, as well as support from the brain injury, mental health, and Veterans’ communities, and countless families affected by Veteran suicide. In the past year, Wimmer’s effort, 22Jumps.org, has grown into a nationwide initiative, with Veterans pledging to plan and participate in future events throughout the U.S. and all funds raised supporting Cohen Veteran Bioscience (CVB), a nonprofit biomedical research organization that is dedicated to fast-tracking precision diagnostics and tailored therapeutics for brain trauma, a major risk factor for suicide.
This year, Wimmer hopes to raise a symbolic $22,000 through his 22Jumps Facebook fundraiser. Donations can also be made at: www.cohenveteransbioscience.org/22-jumps/
22Jumps.org founder and veteran Tristan Wimmer stated-
“TBIs disproportionately effect servicemen and women. I personally know dozens of Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and emotional management issues – many of whom have succumb to suicide. The effects of those deployments linger long after returning home. I’m honored to fundraise for CVB, an organization that recognizes the need to develop new treatment options for the millions of Veterans and civilians who suffer from TBIs and other mental health issues to finally combat the epidemic of Veterans suicide. To move forward, Veterans need more advocates like CVB, and we need more science that embraces the complexity of this Veteran-heavy disease.”
Fast facts about TBIs and Veteran suicide:
- 19% of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans reported a probable TBI during deployment.
- Veteran suicides make up a disproportionate—14 percent—of total suicides in America.
- TBI and PTSD have taken an enormous toll on Veteran populations. With more than 2.7 million men and women deployed to support combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the likelihood and burden of these brain diseases will only increase.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 to receive free, confidential support and crisis interventional available 24/7/365.
The rate of suicide among veterans is at an all-time high — 22 per day, according to 2012 US Dept. of Veteran Affairs study. Yet, despite this soaring statistic, scant public funding is allocated to the problem. 22Jumps was founded in 2019 by Tristan Wimmer, Infantryman and Scout Sniper in 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, in response to his brother Kiernan Wimmer’s own suicide. Kiernan was a recon and MARSOC marine who served one tour in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq. In 2006, Kiernan sustained a massive TBI that diminished his quality of life and contributed to his decision to commit suicide.
About Cohen Veteran Bioscience
Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research organization dedicated to fast-tracking the development of diagnostic tests and personalized therapeutics for the millions of Veterans and civilians who suffer the devastating effects of trauma-related and other brain disorders. CVB is harnessing the power of biotechnology (including neuroimaging, ‘omics, and biosensors) in combination with high-performance computing and data analytics to understand the underlying mechanisms of brain trauma and discover new ways to improve treatment for all patients.