1The Holocaust Survivor Who Celebrated his Birthday by Jumping Out of a Plane
In 2011, Gary Lenzner, a Holocaust survivor who escaped a World War II concentration camp, turned his 85th Birthday into an experience that was more than an adrenaline rush; it was a way to prove that Adolf Hitler, nor age itself, have been able to put out his flame.
"I'd like to prove the son of a b*** didn't succeed," Lenzner said, as he jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet in the air, free-falling for about 40 seconds before landing safely by parachute on Nichol's Field in Jamul, east of San Diego, USA.
Lenzner's skydiving dream has been nearly a decade in the making, and was carefully planned to prevent certain family members from finding out in advance because, as Lenzner put it, they would have "gone crazy" had they known of his daredevil plan.
When asked why he wanted to skydive at 85, he replied, with a gleam in his eye, "You only live once. Once you're dead, you're dead."
2The Boss Who Gave Away His Company to its Employees on his Birthday
We are used to receiving presents on our birthday, but on his 81st birthday, business owner Bob Moore was the one who gave out a present, and not just any present; he gave his whole company to his employees!
In 2010, the owner of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods unveiled the "Employee Stock Ownership Plan" to his 209 employees on the day he turned 81. They now own the place and its 400 offerings of stone-ground flours, cereals, and bread mixes.
The precise worth of the company is unknown, but in 2004 that year's revenue was estimated at more than $24 million, while a company news release from 2010 stated that the company had chalked up an annual growth rate of between 20 to 30 percent every year since.
3The 102-year-old Who Jumped Off a Bridge on her Birthday
In June 2013, Dorothy Custer, a 102-year-old (or young?) woman, base-jumped off a bridge in Idaho to celebrate her recent birthday! In a YouTube video posted on June 3, Custer takes a tandem leap with BASE pro Sean Chuma off the 486-foot high Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls.
The badass Grandma told reporters that the secret to longevity is "action." She zip-lined to mark her 101st birthday and had planned a thrill-free 102nd until her family weighed in.
4The Son Who Celebrated His Birthday By Paying off His Mom's Mortgage
In May 2013, YouTuber iProjectAtlas, a Canadian man of Ethiopian descent, decided to celebrate his birthday by "celebrating the woman who gave me life."
Despite earning only $30,000 a year at the time, he managed to set some money aside each month until he reached his goal, which was saving enough to pay off his mother's mortgage. Then, on his special day, he set up a camera and handed the check over to his mom.
5The 99-year-old Woman Who Celebrated her Birthday by Abseiling Down a Building
Doris Long from Hayling Island, Hampshire is now on record as the oldest person ever to abseil. The 99-year-old woman celebrated her birthday in May 2013 by abseiling down an 11-story tower block, and it's actually the 13th major abseil that Long has completed since turning 85 years old.
Raising money for Rowans Hospice, she scaled down Portsmouth University's 110 ft. (35 m.) Mercantile House to break her own record. "The weather was good this time, it wasn't windy so I didn't swing around like a pendulum up there," said Doris.
Here's a video from 2010:
6The Personal Trainer Who Climbed the Santa Monica Stairs 100 times on his Birthday
In March 2013, personal trainer Matt Richter-Sand celebrated his 31st birthday by climbing the Santa Monica Stairs 100 times to raise awareness for the American Diabetes Association. He says this is the equivalent of climbing the Empire State Building more than ten times.
"Our lives are never stagnant – at any given moment, we're either moving forward or backward. Every year that passes is another opportunity to turn it all around. I want to start my 31st year with a bang!" said Matt.
7The 100-year-old Woman Who Celebrated her Birthday by Skiing
After celebrating her 100th birthday dining and dancing with friends, Elsa Bailey celebrated the first day of her 101st year by fulfilling a promise she made a decade ago:;she went skiing Saturday at Arapahoe Basin, just as she did when she turned 90.
Bailey has been skiing for 75 years. "Just keep plugging and you'll make it," she said, defining the philosophy of her adventurous life.
That rebel streak fed adventures across the world, from India to Africa, as she worked as an occupational therapist while hiking, skiing, whitewater kayaking, and scuba diving. Last fall she journeyed — solo — to Brazil to visit a healer who, she said, "didn't do anything." Returning from South America, she stopped at Disney World in Florida and rode the Space Mountain roller coaster. "We went down into the dark. It was scary," she said. So she rode it five times.