One local woman is preparing to step into the unknown to support a cause close to her heart.
Marvin resident Karen Hund will participate in the fourth annual Over the Edge Charlotte on Sept. 27, a Saturday, at the Fifth Third Center in Uptown Charlotte. Participants will rappel 23-stories down the side of the building to support Special Olympics North Carolina, with each participant raising at least $1,000 for the organization’s efforts.
Special Olympics North Carolina offers sports training, equipment, travel, meals and “anything to compete in a specific sport” for free to nearly 40,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities, said Susan Doggett, vice president of development at Special Olympics North Carolina.
“The (rappelling participants) help raise money for the athletes to support their dreams,” Doggett said. Participants do not have to be experienced at rappelling to take part.
Hund sees the experience as an opportunity to not only face a challenge, but to bring awareness to a cause that is important to her. She attended last year’s event to support a friend who was afraid of heights. There she watched a Special Olympian descend down the building.
“She just gracefully came down the building with no fear. I was awestruck. It just inspired me to do it,” Hund said. “I kept thinking, ‘Can I do that?’ When I saw her, I just knew I could do this.”
Hund formed Team “Recovery = Hope” as her fundraising effort and to start a conversation about recovery while eliminating the stigma surrounding addiction, she said.
“When someone says they’re in recovery, they have lost their essence of self during an addiction … and need to recover the person they have lost,” said Hund, who has personally suffered with addiction.
Hund said if she would have been asked to rappel four and half years ago, she would have “sat on my bar stool, filled with too much fear.”
The Marvin resident hopes to remind individuals who are suffering with recovery in silence that there is hope.
“My addiction robbed me of my voice. Now that I have it back, I want to use it for a good cause, and I don’t think that there is a more worthy cause than Special Olympics,” Hund said.
Participants in Over the Edge often go down the side of the building with butterfly wings or in a Superman costume, but Hund’s team will go down the building with “Recovery = Hope” on their backs.
“There is no reason a city the size of Charlotte and an organization as noble as Special Olympics can’t max out,” Hund said, adding the Raleigh event typically fills its 120 spots.
The event holds 80 slots with 51 currently registered. Interested individuals who wish to rappel can go to www.overtheedgenc.com for more information.