Muster up your courage — the 2019 Easter Seals DropZone needs you!
On August 20, 2019, brave Manitobans will become real life SUPERHEROES by conquering their fears and rappelling 272 feet down the exterior of the Manitoba Hydro building at 360 Portage Ave. This heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping challenge is all in an effort to raise funds for SMD, a family of organizations working together to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Manitoba, and a valued MCC member.
The exhilarating event — an experience that leaves a lasting impression on participants — is now in its 15th year, with events happening nationally in the months of August and September. Since its inception in 2005, this unique event has raised more than $1.4 million in Manitoba to benefit children, youth, and adults living with a disability. Last year’s 71 superheroes raised $136,000.
Registration for the 2019 event is open to individuals and teams of 2 or 4, and the minimum fundraising amount required to rappel is:
- $1,500 for an individual
- $2,500 for a team of two
- $5,000 for a team of four
See below for two DropZone participant stories to inspire you to accept this superhero mission and get fundraising!
Practice What You Preach – APRIL STAMPE
April Stampe is 23 years old and a fourth year Nursing student at the University of Manitoba. She is a kind-hearted, self-motivated, and optimistic person. When she is not busy with school or work, she enjoys being outdoors hiking and pursuing nature photography.
Her nursing practice has given April a great appreciation for the services and programs available for people with disabilities. It has allowed her to witness the effects disabilities like loss of sight, hearing, and mobility have on an individual’s independence. “Through working with these individuals, I have seen the benefits of having supports like assistive devices being made available,” she says.
Although adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers can compensate for losses in mobility or dexterity and help maintain independence, they often carry a cost that make them inaccessible or cause additional financial stress to some. SMD Services can help lessen the financial strains and barriers individuals with disabilities face, helping them focus on living their life to the fullest.
April took part in 2018’s Drop Zone event, a unique fundraising opportunity where individuals get the opportunity to rappel down the exterior of the Manitoba Hydro building (all 272 feet) in support of the 47,000 Manitobans with disabilities. “I planned on overcoming my fear of heights by pushing myself out of my comfort zone so I could to gain confidence and strength. I believed this challenge helped me appreciate what I am truly capable of when I really set my mind to do something.”
Day Trip Inspires New Adventure – RICHARD KENT
Richard Kent is a 30-year-old local Winnipegger who is an avid sports fan. He loves the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Jets, Goldeyes, and Manitoba Moose. Like most people, he enjoys listening to music and a few years ago went to his first live concert where he saw Bruno Mars. Shortly after, he saw Shania Twain as well. He is also passionate about his family and one of his biggest supporters is his sister, Chelsey.
Richard was born two months premature and five months later, diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. People like Richard and their family need support. Over the years, the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) has helped Richard in many ways. “SMD helps people like me. They helped me with my wheelchair.” At a young age, he required a wheelchair and attended a physio program provided by SMD.
In 2017, Richard attended a day program called Equal Opportunities where a group of them went to watch the Drop Zone event. It was here that he saw someone in a wheelchair rappelling 272ft down the exterior of the Manitoba Hydro building and “Something clicked!” explained Chelsey. “He came home that night and told me he wanted to do that.” Richard is unable to walk without assistance, and will never be able to drive a car, but this doesn’t stop him. After seeing another person in a wheelchair rappel down the building, he thought this was something he could do. “He isn’t afraid of anything and isn’t afraid to do Drop Zone.”
One year later, Chelsey and Richard fundraised over $1500 so that he could rappel. In August of 2018, Richard found himself safely strapped into his wheelchair soaking in the beautiful city views as he rappelled down 272 feet…smiling the entire way.
Chelsey has worked for 10 years in the disability field as a direct support professional. “Richard is my biggest motivator in life and is the reason why I work in the field,” she says with pride. “When Richard told me he wanted to do Drop Zone, I knew I had to support him, even if that meant coming down the building tandem style!” When Richard touched down safely, she was swept with emotions and extremely proud of her brother.