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Huntington to Rappel From W.V. Building For Charity

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Participants who raise a minimum of $1,000 in United Way of the River Cities’ Over the Edge fundraising event will be able to rappel down the 17-story West Virginia Building in downtown Huntington on Saturday, June 17.

The registration fee for the event is $100, which will go toward the $1,000 fundraising goal. The last day for donations is the week before the event.

United Way of the River Cities is a non-profit organization that has a mission to partner with the community to solve its greatest issues. It supports programs and strategies that address critical issues that focus in the areas of education, income, health and safety-net services.

The money raised will stay locally within the tristate to help support numerous programs and initiatives. This is the first year United Way of the River Cities is having the rappelling, but there are plans to make it an annual event.

“My predecessor, Will, came across a unique, exciting organization that actually puts on this event for non-profits, such as United Way,” Matt Ward, director of development at United Way of the River Cities, said. “They have done it all over the world for any non-profit organization that you can think of and they’re very successful at doing it.”

Part of Ninth Street Plaza will be closed and the two-day event will also feature a festival, including music, festivities and a place for spectators to watch the people rappelling down the building.

“Alex Vence, who owns the West Virginia Building, agreed to allow us to have this event,” Ward said. “He was a very large part in the process, as well as St. Mary’s ER agreeing to be the presenting sponsor of the event and they will be backing us financially.”

Participant Michelle Marcum is in a young professional group in Huntington, called Generation Huntington. Generation Huntington provides networking opportunities to young professionals within the area, educating them through various speakers and workshops. The committee also provides an outlet for young professionals to give back to the community, and develop a core of young leaders committed to growing the Huntington region.

“We do community developments and we meet once a month and talk about what’s going on in Huntington and in the tristate and talk about what we can do as a group,” Marcum said. “I’m the chairwoman for the Community Development Committee, so what I do is reach out to the community and the non-profit organizations and see what is going on and find out what fundraisers are going on and what volunteer opportunities we have as a group.”

When Marcum first heard of the event, she called United Way and asked if she could rappel down the building herself.

“I’m an adrenaline junkie, I’m an avid kayak and white water enthusiast, so this is right up my alley. From there, I’ve been trying to promote it as much as possible,” Marcum said. “It combines my love for adrenaline-driven activities with my passion for community development.”

No climbing or rappelling experience is necessary, participants must weigh between 100 and 300 pounds and rappel times are assigned in the order the minimum fundraising amount is met — the sooner a participant raises $1,000, the more times will be available to choose from. Participants are provided with a personal fundraising website, fundraising coaching, tools and encouragement in order to help them reach their goal through FirstGiving.com.

Hannah Swartz can be contacted at [email protected]

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