By Bruce Corcoran
Two Chatham-Kent charities are asking people to jump off a tall building for them in June.
The Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent are partnering this year to hold “Over the Edge” where people rappel down the side of the Holiday Inn Express and raise funds for the groups at the same time.
It’s the second Over the Edge event. The inaugural one took place in 2018 and raised $92,000 for the treatment centre. It took a year off to make way for the RM 40th celebrations in 2019.
This year’s event takes place June 20 with a bold goal of $200,000.
Mike Genge, president of the CTC Foundation, said teaming up with Big Brothers Big Sisters just made sense.
“It’s a perfect fit because Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about kids; we’re all about kids.
They’ve got a great volunteer base. We think we can bring in another 40-50 people,” he said. “And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who brings the most amount of money in, we’re just splitting it down the middle and splitting our expenses.”
Amanda Clark of Big Brothers Big Sisters said this will be the organization’s big fundraiser this year, replacing the motorcycle raffle.
“It’s a lot to take on, but when you wrap your brain around it, this is a no brainer,” she said of the group’s involvement.
Clark did not commit to going Over the Edge herself, but said Big Brothers Big Sisters are spreading the word among volunteers, “Bigs” and “Smalls” seeking participants. She said she hopes to see some “matches” – a “big” brother or sister with their “little” sibling.
Genge, however, will rappel once again. He went Over the Edge two years ago.
“It was easy,” he said of last time. “It wasn’t a problem at all. But I lie very well. It actually scared the living heck out of me. But I did it. I got down.”
Genge said the Over the Edge company that runs the rappelling is all about safety, so at no time did he feel scared for his life.
Kevin Owen, a board member with the Foundation of the CTC, has already committed to stepping off a perfectly good roof and rappelling down the Holiday Inn Express in June.
He’s not afraid to admit that he’s, well, afraid.
“I’m very frightened. I think anyone would be afraid of heights that dramatic,” he said. “But it’s a great way to raise funds.”
Owen said he is choosing to face that fear and go Over the Edge for the same reason he became a board member – to give back.
“I used the CTC as a child for speech therapy and one of my children used the CTC for an issue she had when she was one. I think it’s really important. It’s my turn to give back,” he said. “I see my friends make use of the CTC, and their children. I think it’s a great way to raise money by rappelling down. If the CTC raises money, then I’ll rappel Over the Edge. I don’t really want to, but I’m going to.”
Edgers, people who have raised a minimum of a $1,000 in pledges, will rappel over the front of the Holiday Inn Express. Their descents start at 9 a.m. that morning.
Every edger that raises the minimum $1,000 in pledges will have their name put into a draw to win a new 2020 Mazda3 GX, courtesy Chatham Mazda.
Ian Cartwright, general manager of Chatham Mazda and a member of the Lally Auto Group team, said he’s heading Over the Edge June 20.
“I don’t know if I’m afraid of heights,” he said. “But the Lally Family is part of this community, so I’m doing it.”
Cartwright said he’s also looking forward to seeing the face of the lucky winner of the Mazda 3.
“I’m excited to see a family drive away in a new car,” he said.
Genge said this is not the first time the Lally Group has contributed. Lally Kia donated a vehicle two years ago, and Lally vehicles have been driven away from other CTC fundraisers.
“They’ve been very generous in helping us with the events we do,” he said. “Whoever wins this car, they’re going to get a beautiful car.”
Adam Lally said the Lally Group is a big believer in the CTC and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“They do awesome work in our community,” he said. “And we love how the CTC puts on events that are creative in all the right ways. They generate excitement.”
While some of the excitement for Over the Edge is the adrenaline rush that Edgers will feel as they come down the front of the Holiday Inn Express, there is also a lot of fun waiting for folks on the ground.
Event organizers encourage people to visit during the day as there will be a “carnival-like atmosphere, live music, children’s entertainment, food vendors and much more,” officials said.
Genge said the children’s games include laser tag and a “tractor-trailer full of games for kids to use.
“All of it is free. It’s just a nice way to say to the community, ‘Come out and support our Edgers and have a great time,’” he said.
For more information on the event and to register as an Edger, visit overtheedge.events/chathamkent/.