Rappellers raise $60,000 for Special Olympics.

Rappellers raise $60,000 for Special Olympics.

— Rose Pleskow is not one to shy away from a challenge. The 23-year-old athlete competed in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, last summer, earned multiple medals in the 2012 Virginia Special Olympic Summer Games and recently competed in an 800-meter race in the waters around the Cayman Islands. But on June 22, she did something most people wouldn't dare: rappelling down the side of a 15-story building.

“Being in this event means a lot to me as a Special Olympics athlete and Global Messenger,” said Pleskow, who participated in the first Northern Virginia “Over the Edge” fundraiser in Arlington.

Pleskow joined local celebrities like DC 101 morning show DJ Elliot Segal of “Elliot in the Morning,” ABC 7's Steve Chenevey and Crystal City BID President and CEO Angie Fox in dangling 250-feet from the side of the Hilton Crystal City in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics of Virginia.

“It was a phenomenal experience,” said Fox, who participated in the event with a team from the Crystal City BID that included BID board chairman Harmar Thompson and vice chair Mitch Bonanno. “The adrenaline as first you step off that edge is both terrifying and exciting. But you just trust the ropes and the equipment and have a little bit of faith.”

“The adrenaline as first you step off that edge is both terrifying and exciting.”

Crystal City BID CEO Angie Fox

Participants had to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the “privilege” to go “Over the Edge” in the first-time event in Northern Virginia.

“Nonprofits are facing a lot of challenges these days,” said Paul Griffith, who started Over the Edge in 2004 as a one-time fundraising event in his native Halifax, Nova Scotia. “There are only so many charity walks or runs you can do. Rappelling is something different and a more exciting way to bring awareness to an organization like Special Olympics.”

Sixty-eight rappellers participated in the event, raising more than $60,000 for Special Olympics of Virginia

“I love the cause and being able to bring visibility to Crystal City,” Fox said. “It's a real win-win. We get to show off the hotel, show off the area and show off how philanthropic partnerships like this can work. It's easy to forget that Special Olympic athletes deal with these kinds of challenges every day and it was inspiring to meet some of them and bring awareness to what they are able to achieve.”

For more information on Over the Edge or how to participate next year, visit www.OverTheEdgeVA.com or follow Special Olympics of Virginia on Twitter at @overtheedgeva.