Thrill seekers step over edge to raise money for kids

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

“I was a little nervous at first, but now I’m really excited,” said Sain of Redford. “I have no fear.”On top of the First National Building downtown, Eddie Sain gazed out at the city’s skyline before rappelling down the 341-foot skyscraper Friday.

Sain is an operations specialist at Quicken Loans, one of the partners in the Over the Edge fundraiser, and was picked in a drawing to rappel down the exterior of the building at Campus Martius.

“Our team was able to raise enough money to send eight people out today, but we were picked randomly,” Sain said.

For $1,000 each, participants can use ropes to get from the top of the First National Building on Woodward to the street below Friday and Saturday.

Now in its second year, Detroit2Nepal Foundation, in partnership with Quicken Loans, Opportunity Detroit and Bedrock Detroit encouraged people to experience the breath-taking opportunity while contributing to a good cause.

Thrill seekers and volunteers soaked in the sun while waiting anxiously for their turn. The time to descend the building can take from five to 20 minutes.

“I think rappelling is a way to challenge yourself in a unique and fun way,” said Tom Riopelle of Port Huron, a volunteer for the fundraiser. “The fear factor is there, but knowing that the ropes are safe and that you are working with trained individuals, it will put your mind at ease.”

So far, the event has raised more than $350,000 beating last year’s total of $230,000.Money raised goes to American Promise Schools education and scholarship programs in Detroit and to help rebuild schools in Nepal that were destroyed by an earthquake in 2015. APS has three schools in Detroit, Voyageur Academy, Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and Consortium College Preparatory Academy

Jeff Paszko of Milford was unfazed at the thought of rappelling down the 26-story building.

“This is something that I always wanted do. I have never been afraid of heights,” said Paszko, who is the director of operations at Quicken Loans and who was also picked from a drawing. “This is definitely a bucket list opportunity.”

Those who are faint-hearted but still want to be a part of the activities, street food vendors will be across from the building and there will be a basketball tournament Friday and Saturday evenings.

For those who decide to go Over the Edge, no rappelling experience is required. Onsite instructions will be given by industrial rope specialists and each person is strapped into a harness and has to wear a helmet.

Robert Keidan, director of Detroit2Nepal said Over the Edge is a way to help children.

“It’s a win-win situation. The money raised today will benefit a lot of people in both cities,” Keidan said. “Plus, Detroit is a great city and through this event, we want everyone else to see and feel that way too.”

(313) 222-1855


If you go

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: First National Building

660 Woodward Ave., Detroit