Photos by Asia Morris of volunteers, Over the Edge and Special Olympics staff preparing for Saturday's event.
Those near the shoreline in downtown Long Beach on Saturday may notice something unexpected happening at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, as those who fundraised at least $1,000 for the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) during its most recent campaign, Over the Edge, rappel down the side of the 17-story hotel.
“Over the Edge is the perfect example of how Special Olympics Southern California empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports,” said President and CEO of SOSC Bill Shumard in a statement. “As thrill-seekers experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rappel down the Hyatt Regency, it will give them a sense of how courageous our athletes are everyday as they make the most of their abilities, overcoming the fears or challenges they face.”
Participants will be stepping Over the Edge between 9:00AM and 3:30PM, supervised by trained rappelling professionals from Over the Edge, a special events company that creates fundraising event opportunities for nonprofit organizations, according to SOSC officials. The event will also feature entertainment and a Drop Zone for friends and family to enjoy the spectacle and cheer on their brave “edger.”
Among those slated to take the plunge on Saturday include Special Olympics athlete and Long Beach resident Tyler Smith, Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) Deputy Chief Richard Conant and LBPD Bureau Chief Jason Campbell, SOSC athlete Gregory Kozlowski, who competed in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and SOSC athlete and staff member Dustin Plunkett, who hosted the 2015 Special Olympics World Games on ESPN.
“The entire Hyatt Regency Long Beach family wants to go above and beyond to make Over the Edge a success,” stated Hyatt Regency Long Beach General Manager Mark Becker. “Our team promises the same dedication to excellence as demonstrated by the athletes of Special Olympics Southern California.”
More than 80 participants have been fundraising throughout the past year to support more than 26,000 Special Olympics athletes from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, that will benefit from this event. The athletes are active in competitions year-round and, thanks to fundraising events like Over the Edge, are able to participate in a variety of sports at no cost to them or their families.
“From purchasing equipment, creating new teams or expanding existing programs, proceeds from Over the Edge enables SOSC to continue its mission of empowerment through sports training and competition,” Shumard stated.
For more information on Special Olympics Southern California, visit the website here.
The Hyatt Regency Long Beach is located at 200 South Pine Ave.