People Going ‘Over the Edge”

WHEELING – The YWCA of Wheeling has a fundraiser idea that will raise funds one fall at a time.

The fundraiser, scheduled for Aug. 22-23, involves people raising $1,000 apiece for a chance to rappel down the Stone Center Building – that’s eight stories at a height of 126 feet.

Executive Director Lori Jones said 63 people already have signed up to take the estimated 5-minute walk down the Market Street side of the building, which is actually taller than the Main Street side. Included on that list is Mayor Andy McKenzie, City Manager Robert Herron and state Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons, D-Ohio.

And despite her fear of heights, Jones is going to rappel, too.

“I’m afraid of heights, but how can I ask other people to do it if I don’t do it myself?” Jones said.

The company conducting the event, Over the Edge, does rappelling fundraisers across the country and around the world. Jones said she investigated doing such a fundraiser for about a year. It took Jones eight months to find a building owner willing to allow the rappelling to happen. The Stone Center is owned by the Regional Economic Development Partnership.

“This is a unique fundraiser for the Wheeling area and it’s very exciting. The community is given the opportunity to overcome their fear of heights, raise money for women and children, and the donations – whether you pay for yourself or support someone else – are completely tax deductible. The Board of the YWCA Wheeling is proud to offer this awesome opportunity to the community,” said Board President Patti Kota.

Jones said the money will be used to continue the Y’s programs, which include helping women who are victims of abuse.

“We are so happy to have REDP as our building partner for this event,” Kota said. “REDP are forward, progressive thinkers with a vision for Wheeling’s future and the YWCA is honored to partner with them for this event.”

Jones said before going with Over the Edge, she witnessed a rappelling event in Columbus, Ohio, where people were walking down a 26-story building. Company officials, she said, instilled so much confidence in her that she could have rappelled that day. The employees are trained rescue rapellers.

To register, call 304-232-0511, or visit www.ywcawheeling.org. People can request a specific time to rappel. For $1,200 a person or group can play Family Feud to try and win back their money. In addition to the city officials, Spider-Man, Rosie the Riveter and Wonder Woman, are also expected to participate. To rappel, one must be at least 12 years old and weigh between 100-300 pounds.