By Bryan Gase
A few days ago I was asked to write about my experience of rappelling down the Key Bank Building in downtown Dayton. At first I cringed because I really don’t like to talk about myself, or what I do for charity because I don’t do it to be recognized – I do it to give back. Then, I thought about it a while and I realized that this could be fun. On September 16th, 2011 in conjunction with Urban Nights, a group of close to 70 people (including myself) thought it would be a fun idea to rappel 27 stories (375 feet above the Earth) for charity. The event was called “Over the Edge” and it was a new and creative fundraiser that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami Valley came up with. The idea was to raise $1,000 each and if a member did that, they could go “Over the Edge”.
I first heard about the idea from a friend of mine’s Facebook page (thanks social media). He was posting a link to ask for donations for this event. Of course me being the guy who always wants to try and help, I clicked on the link. As I read further, I found out what charity it was for. Then, I realized, “Wow, I can help a charity AND conquer a major fear of mine.” So I decided to sign up. That was just the beginning for me. I kept reading about Big Brothers Big Sisters because I had obviously heard of them, but never really knew exactly what they did. Turns out, they are a more-than-wonderful “Non for Profit” organization. They help match kids who need role models in their lives with adults in the community that will hang out with them, take them out to things they wouldn’t typically get to do, and in general, be a life role model.
My thinking is now that I can really make a difference. Rather than donating $20, I can raise $1,000 and really make a big difference. They say that a $1,000 donation can actually support a “Big” and a “Little” for an entire year. That’s it!??!?! I can do that; challenge accepted. I began asking friends and family for donations. They didn’t have to be much, $10, $20, whatever they could afford. I’m sure that plenty of my friends started to get annoyed seeing all my Facebook posts about it but I was determined. That’s when all the fun questions started to come in. “Are you out of your mind? Do you have a death wish?” No and no. This was bigger than me, it wasn’t about me. It was about the Foundation. Sure, did I get to conquer a fear of mine, but that was just an added bonus.
I will never forget going “Over the Edge” and I fully plan on doing it again next year. I remember standing on the ledge, leaning back, taking my first backwards steps, and holding onto my ropes for dear life. Doing this was something that reminded me (and every charity or fundraiser I work with), that there are much bigger things than us. My dad always told me that he was proud to have me as his son, but never more so than when I started to give back to Dayton. I will continue to make my dad proud even though he is no longer with me in body. I know he will give me the strength and sense to always, always, give back more than I get.