Video: Rappelling for a good cause

Red Deer Rope for Hope

When Red Deer’s Jolene Von Hollen’s son Sawyer, 4, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, the Make-A-Wish foundation made Sawyer’s dream come true – a trip to Disneyland.

Von Hollen, her family and friends wanted to make sure they could give back the organization. They did just that by rappelling off Red Deer’s second tallest building and raising $13,000 for organization.

“There were lots of people who stepped up and donated and it just grew and grew every day. We were so shocked every day, it would just keep going higher,” she said.

When it came to actually rappelling off the 12-storey building, there were definitely some nerves, Von Hollen said.

“I wasn’t nervous until I was actually up there and was rigged up. I tried not to think about it, but when they were asking me to back up to the edge I was still not ready to go. I was almost like, ‘Maybe I’ll just turn around now and not do it,’ but I’m glad I did,” she said.

Gwen Vozzolo, Sawyer’s grandmother said the rappelling was challenging when the participants walked right off the wall because there was no wall to walk on for about 10 feet.

“Other than that it went OK,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll rush up there and do it again any time soon, but it was definitely worth it.”

Development and event coordinator for Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta Heather Harcott said it was a blast seeing all the different reactions of the participants for the event.

“Some are kind of terrified and a little bit quiet and anxious before, but after there’s a sense of elation. There’s a couple people that will probably do it again and others that will just check it off the bucket list,” she said.

The Rope for Hope event has been held in Edmonton for four years, and due to Red Deer and the surrounding area having decent amount of children who get their wishes granted Make-A-Wish thought it would be a good idea to bring the fundraiser to the city.

“It’s amazing to see the community rally together for a first-year event. The energy seems so positive and upbeat. It’s pretty cool.”

The Rope for Hope Red Deer event raised $63,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation.

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