Pub­lisher’s Note

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Eleanor Roo­sevelt once said, “Do one thing ev­ery day that scares you.”

Sorry, but that’s not a rule I tend to fol­low. I have zero risk-tak­ing genes in my body and my stress lev­els are high enough.

So when Shel­ley Goren, CEO of Gilda’s Club, and Sara How­ley Cal­lari, Gilda’s Board Chair, asked me to “Go Over the Edge for Gilda’s” by rap­pelling down the side of the B Ocean Ho­tel, my re­sponse was “heck to the no!” The event would be tak­ing place on my birth­day - an even bet­ter rea­son not to take the plunge off a 14-story build­ing.

But if you know these two ladies, you know it’s hard to say no. They are fab­u­lous women whom I adore. So I even­tu­ally agreed (af­ter they wore me down)!

Since it was my birth­day, I needed a lit­tle ex­tra sup­port so I asked my Dad to join me. The big day ar­rived! I won’t lie and say I wasn’t ex­tremely ner­vous and the train­ing talk did lit­tle to put me at ease. But the staff and vol­un­teers at “Over the Edge” (Art, Mike, Re­becca, Ruben and Frank) kept as­sur­ing me there was no way to get hurt. Once we were har­nessed, we trudged up (re­ally, though, we took the el­e­va­tor but ‘trudged’ sounds so much more ad­ven­tur­ous) to the roof of the ho­tel to see the city sparkling be­low us. It was beau­ti­ful and I thought to my­self : “What’s the worst that could hap­pen? I’ll som­er­sault over the edge all Na­dia Co­maneci style and look the com­plete op­po­site of grace­ful?” Oh yeah, that hap­pened.

My Dad went first and my goal was to fol­low right be­hind so we could rap­pel down to­gether. But I made the mis­take of look­ing down 14 sto­ries. Oh dear! My Dad went straight down but I couldn’t even get off the wall (Dave De­coteau, the pho­tog­ra­pher, has the proof of my ter­ror). I fi­nally did make it over - head first and not on pur­pose - and even­tu­ally got my­self right side up. My sense of awe over­pow­ered any feel­ings of fear - un­til I got “locked up” and was dan­gling mid-air. But that treach­er­ous drop (so dra­matic aren’t I?) segued into the beauty of the ocean on one side, the lush green trees of Birch State Park on the other and ev­ery­one on the ground ser­e­nad­ing me with a fab­u­lous ver­sion of “Happy Birth­day.” Of course I for­got ev­ery­thing they told me in train­ing about get­ting locked up, but the crew was amaz­ing and I made it down, feet first.

So much for imag­in­ing my­self rap­pelling the wall - part Won­der Women part Char­lie’s An­gels - las­so­ing evil­do­ers to con­fess their crimes. Yep, wasn’t any­thing close to that.

But I did kick fear as hard as I could right in the teeth. And what bet­ter birth­day gift could I give my­self?

A cel­e­bra­tion of new ex­pe­ri­ences, an un­for­get­table ad­ven­ture with my Dad, not to men­tion an op­por­tu­nity to bring aware­ness and sup­port to Gilda’s Club and all the people who have ben­e­fited from their cancer sup­port pro­grams free of charge.

Later that evening I ran into Jil, a lady I had met a few years ago at Gilda’s Club, and she looked amaz­ing. It was a per­fect end to the day.

What­ever this year has in store for me I say: Bring it on! Life be­gins at the end of your com­fort zone. Seventy people went “Over the Edge” and raised more than $100,000. For more in­for­ma­tion or to sup­port Gilda’s Club’s, visit www.gildas­club­south­

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