Photo: Kristi Calderon Reporter Lauren Collins getting ready to rappel down Central City tower Monday (Sept. 16) for the Easter Seals Drop Zone event.

COLUMN: Conquering your fear is easier when it’s for charity

Surrey drop zone event benefits Easter Seals, which helps support people living with disabilities

The Easter Seals Drop Zone is described as a “knee-shaking, heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping fundraiser adventure that encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and face your fears.”

And face my fears I did.

I have a slight fear of heights – nothing major, except that my knees start to wobble and my palms begin to sweat when I even think about being up too high.

But when I was given the opportunity to try the Easter Seals Drop Zone at Central City tower (the first time the event has been in Surrey), I couldn’t pass it up. But that’s probably because I also have slight FOMO (fear of missing out).

READ ALSO: Reporter steps out of comfort zone – and airplane

Easter Seals provides programs, services, issues-leadership and development for the disability community. The drop zone event raises money for Easter Seals Camp and Easter Seals House.

The house, which is located in Vancouver, provides a “low cost, caring place to stay for more than 100 parents and children every night,” while the camp offers a “once-in-a-lifetime, week-long fully accessible camping experiences for individuals living with disabilities.”

The Easter Seals website says that for more than 95 years, the organization has “encouraged Canadians living with disabilities to live life actively, pushing boundaries to contribute to the well-being of themselves and their communities.”

One of those people is Surrey resident Marco Pasqua, who was born with cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair his entire life. Pasqua said he had brain damage at birth, “which affects (his) ability to send a signal to (his) legs to walk properly.”

While he doesn’t have paralysis and can walk, he said using a wheelchair helps him to get around “a little bit quicker.” Pasqua told me (just minutes before I rappelled off the side of the building) that Easter Seals has been supporting him and his family for more than 25 years, as he’s an alumni camper.

“When I have an opportunity to give back as an ambassador, and support not only Easter Seals Camp but now Easter Seals House, in an adrenaline junkie kind of way, I’m just like, ‘Yes, let’s do this.’ So that’s exactly why I’m doing it.”

Monday would be Pasqua’s third time doing the drop zone, each time in his wheelchair. His drop was sponsored by Frozen Mountain Software.

For Pasqua, he said it means the world to him to see people facing their fears and doing the drop zone.

“There’s a famous quote that says, ‘Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.’ I think that that’s true for everyone here. Not everyone imagines themselves having a Mission Impossible moment where they’re rappelling off the side of a building, but to know that by doing this, you’re giving back to families and children with special needs and disabilities to go to summer camp and have real-world experiences just like any other child, that’s really what you’re doing.”

READ ALSO: New ‘Drop Zone’ event in Surrey will see fundraisers rappel down Central City tower

And with that, I got ready to go outside and face my fear. Standing high atop Central City tower, what I was about to do finally sunk in.

I’m not going to lie and say my palms weren’t sweating or my legs weren’t shaking, but I also knew that I couldn’t back out – mostly because I had promised to write this column for the paper.

With my earlier crash course in how to rappel off the side of a building, I began to slowly make my way down the building (legs still shaking) with Robin Woolmer, first vice-president with Surrey Central Lions. His two main sponsors for the drop were the Surrey Central Lions and Port Coquitlam Lions Club.

The first few floors were slow going, and then the lower we got, people in their offices were coming to the window to cheer us on and take photos. Before I knew it, I was letting go of my vice-like grip and smiling and waving back at them. This isn’t actually so bad, I thought.

As I went down, I was reminded about what Pasqua said when I asked him about facing his fears.

“I’d say, don’t be afraid of things that you can truly conquer,” he said. “Once you get to the other side of that fear, you have the opportunity to become the version of yourself that you truly hope to be. It’s so rewarding to have that adrenaline rush and to know that you’re more capable than you ever thought possible.”

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