Glen Donnelly, who will turn 30 on August 27, will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for skydiving while playing the violin. The challenge doesn’t end there though. Donnelly will tackle the feat completely nude.
The Central Coast native, a renowned violinist, will jump from 15,000 feet in the air in subzero temperatures. Guinness records have been set for skydiving in the nude and for skydiving while playing a musical instrument, but not both at the same time.
Donnelly, who studied viola at the illustrious London Royal Academy of Music, hopes to raise $15,000 for mental health services. The violinist has had his own mental health struggles. In 2013, he abandoned his music career after battling body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “BDD is a body-image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.”
Approximately one percent of the U.S. population suffers from BDD. The roots of the disorder are imprecise, though it may have biological and environmental origins, including genetic predisposition, neurobiological factors, personality traits and life experiences.
Donnelly, who traces the disorder back to 2006 when a fellow musician referred to him as podgy, began confronting the issue by embracing naturism.
“Men need to start talking about their vulnerabilities. I’ve rebooted my life and getting nude is a legitimate form of therapy,” said Donnelly.
Last year, Martin Rees, 28, set a record for the most magic tricks performed during a single skydive, by completing 11 tricks while freefalling 15,000 feet over Salisbury, U.K.
During the tandem skydiving jump, Donnelly will face 220 km/h winds as he free-falls for three minutes nude. Before participating in the challenge, he may prepare for the blistering wind resistance at a racetrack.
“I might need a practice run or two at a speedway where someone can drive really fast and I’ll lunge out with the violin, and if there are no eyes around, I might hang my private parts out too,” said the musician.
Donnelly hasn’t decided what song he will play during the jump, though he is considering Flight of the Bumblebee or Happy Birthday.
The money he raises will benefit the following organizations:
· The Butterfly Foundation, which represents people affected by eating disorders and negative body image issues, as well as their family and friends. The foundation works to bring attention to treatment for recovery, and advocates for better services from the government and private treatment centers.
· The Nude Movement, which works to raise consciousness about people’s relationships with their body.
· The ManKind Project, which brings awareness to what it means to be a man in today’s world by defining accountability, authenticity, compassion, generosity, integrity, multicultural awareness and respect.
Donnelly hopes his story and skydiving feat inspires others suffering from BDD.
“In my moment of change, I took control of my life and started doing things my way to heal my body and mind. I told my story on the local radio station, and now I’m ready to help others,” said Donnelly.