Over the Edge went over the top in terms of fundraising, as the event raised $92,000 and counting for the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent (CTCC-K) on Saturday.
More than 40 participants took the elevator and then stairs to the top of the Holiday Inn Express on Richmond Street in Chatham, only to hop off the side of the hotel and rappel down 10 storeys to the ground.
Included in the group were superheroes – Spiderman and Capt. Positive were spotted at the event – as well as everyday people, and several folks who have or are making use of the treatment centre’s services.
Alex Hyndman went over in his wheelchair.
Carson Grail, a CTCC-K member who has cerebral palsy, went over the edge with his father, Mike Grail, rappelling down beside him.
Carson, who got turned around a couple of times during his decent, said he loved the experience.
“It was fun. I was scared,” he said.
Mike said his son, who raised $4,600 for the event, was a bit nervous, but was proud of his accomplishment. He added he enjoyed the opportunity to go down at the same time.
“I thought that Carson was going to go with an instructor. That I could do it was truly amazing,” Mike said.
As Carson descended, he received numerous shouts of support from friends and family on the ground.
Mike said going over the edge was an adrenaline rush for sure.
“The greatest feeling is when your feet go over the edge and you lower that rope for the first time,” he said.
Carson later asked his dad, “Can we do it again tomorrow?”
Mike Genge, executive director for the Foundation of the CTCC-K, who also went over the edge, said the day was a hit, with participants as well as spectators and people who showed up for the children’s play area/carnival in the parking lot.
“We’re absolutely flabbergasted by how well the event went. We had lots of clients showing up who were there to participate in the carnival,” he said. “TekSavvy ponied up big time as a corporate sponsor. We couldn’t have done it without their help, as well as Holiday Inn Express and Lally Kia.”
Lally Kia gave away a Kia Forte to one of the Edgers, Nathan Bergeron.
Genge credited the organizational efforts of Foundation staffers Donna Polowyck and Jessica Turner as crucial elements to the success of the event.
As for his experience going over the edge, he described himself as being an “angry rappeller.”
“The people who went over, I think it was only myself and Chris McLeod who said this was the most frightening thing we ever did. We were so freaked out,” he said.
Genge said the Foundation wants to do it again at some point. He added he wouldn’t be going over the next time, however.
Over the Edge, the company that ran the rappelling element of the event, is an adventure experience company that takes their gear across the continent to provide unique fundraising and team-building experiences for non-profit groups and businesses respectively.
Ron Green, the site and safety supervisor in Chatham Saturday, performed the final check on each rappeller’s gear and provided detailed, calm reminders on how to control the rope.