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'Over the Edge' fundraiser allows people to rappel down one of Grand Rapids' tallest buildings

Over the Edge Event for Easterseals West Michigan
Posted at 11:16 PM, Sep 17, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If you're looking to step out of your comfort zone this weekend, how about rappelling down one of Grand Rapids' tallest buildings?

FOX 17's Michael Martin and Lauren Kummer stepped "over the edge" at Bridgewater Place on Friday ahead of Saturday's event.

"Our 'Over the Edge' event, it’s our fifth annual event," said Easterseals West Michigan Director Denise Durkee. "It’ll be our second year doing it at Bridgewater Place off the beautiful Varnum deck."

It's the fifth year people are rappelling down 17 stories to raise money and awareness for Easterseals West Michigan.

"Easterseals provides mental health services for adults and children. We have trauma assessments, we do autism services, we have programs for veterans and military, we have programs for our farmers, and then we have our children's speech and language, occupational therapy and mental health, so we have a wide variety of services," said Durkee.

It's their first fundraising event since February of 2020, before the pandemic. 60 people are signed up to participate.

"First off, they sign a waiver — very important — sign the waiver, and then they'll be brought up to a staging room where they're fitted with their safety gear and their harnesses. Then they'll be right out here on the deck, and we have a training tripod, and so they'll learn how to work the levers on the gear. Then once you're ready to do that, then we will take them to the edge and they will rappel," said Durkee.

To participate, it costs $1,000. Many of the participants got sponsors or have been raising money for months all to feel the adrenaline rush of seeing Grand Rapids through a different lens.

"Our goal is to raise $135,000 for Easterseals. That money will stay right here in West Michigan to help our programs and services locally. The last time I checked, we were at $133,000. We're really, really close," said Durkee.

If you're interested in particpating, you can visit Bridgewater Place's Varnum tower on Saturday to sign up.

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