My spidey senses were tingling — well, really that was probably just my legs shaking. It’s not every day you rappel 350 feet down Britney Spears’ face on the side of Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas.
I’m not afraid of heights. I’ve jumped off the Stratosphere on SkyJump Las Vegas and flown high above the Las Vegas Strip in a helicopter, but standing on the roof of Planet Hollywood looking down at the ant-sized cars speeding along Las Vegas Boulevard … all I could think was, “What was I thinking?”
I guess I hadn’t considered how downright terrified I would be when I decided to indulge my inner adrenaline junkie by representing VEGAS.com in the Over the Edge fundraiser for Special Olympics Nevada. This unique fundraiser allows individuals who raise at least $1,000 to rappel off the top of a Las Vegas hotel while over-looking one of the most famous streets in the world.
My fear quickly turned to excitement as I looked down on the Bellagio fountains, Cosmopolitan pool, the Paris Las Vegas balloon marquee and the rest of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip during my 10 minute descent to the 6th floor Pleasure Pool where my family was waiting at the bottom. Once I hit the ground, my 5-year-old son came running and jumped into my arms. He has watched all my Vegas Expert thrill ride videos and pretty much thinks I jump off buildings for a living. “Mommy, you’re just like Spiderman,” he told me.
Maggie Schwartz, regional vice president of Special Olympics Nevada says the organization does several fundraisers but she loves the Over the Edge fundraiser because it’s all about adventure. “It’s all about the spirit of Las Vegas, doing crazy and incredible things on the Las Vegas Strip,” she explains.
Strip entertainer Jeff Civillico, star of Jeff Civillico: Comedy in Action at the Quad, participated in the annual event for the second time having also rappelled last year. This year the juggling phenom rolled off the top of Planet Hollywood on his unicycle and rappelled with it (see video), and according to a blog post about his experience, he pedaled the whole way down.
“Riding off the roof of Planet Hollywood on my unicycle was one of the greatest adrenaline rushes of my life for sure,” says Civillico. “Can’t wait for next year!”
Once a rappeller safely reaches the ground, a group of athletes from the Special Olympics places a gold metal around their neck and poses for pictures with them. “They’re inspired by the people who go over the edge for them,” explains Schwartz.
Special Olympics Nevada is a free year-round sports training and competition program for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities. Financial support comes almost exclusively from individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations.
For the Over the Edge fundraiser, all 70 rappelling spots were filled, and included a couple rappellers who went more than once as well as a Special Olympics athlete. The fundraiser has so far grossed $97, 444. Fundraising will continue until the end of October.
I’m happy to be back safe on the ground. But hopefully in the eyes of my son, I will always be a super hero!