It’s a tough world out there, asking people for money. You could pass around a bucket, sure, but lots of other charities do that.
So why not ask people, instead, to leap off the top of a 350-foot tall building and pay you for the privilege?
This actually works.
“This is our largest single fundraiser of the year. For Special Olympics Nevada, this is a very big deal,” said Maggie Schwarz, the group’s regional vice president.
She’s talking about Over the Edge, now in its fourth year locally. The event on Friday and Saturday has 60 volunteers raise or contribute at least $1,000 each so they can rappel down the side of the Planet Hollywood Resort on the Strip.
“People always give more money when you say you’re doing something stupid,” said Jeff Civillico, who headlines the show Comedy in Action at The Quad.
Civillico, who juggles, rides a unicycle and encourages audience participation in his show, said this will be his second year participating in Over the Edge. He did it last year, he said, and found it kind-of easy.
So he wanted to ride his unicycle down the side of Planet Hollywood this year. That’s a no-go — nobody wants tire marks on the side of the white resort. But he will rappel while strapped to his unicycle.
“It’ll still look pretty ridiculous,” he said.
Schwarz said the participants will range from teenagers to seniors, all of whom have a “healthy sense of adventure.”
She said the idea for Over the Edge isn’t a new one; similar events have been staged for charities around the country. But when she heard about it a few years ago, she knew she had to get Special Olympics Nevada involved.
“To me, it just had Vegas written all over it,” she said.
It was held at the Rio the first two years, and moved to Planet Hollywood last year.
That was the year Joe Lusch first got involved. He’s the director of facilities at Planet Hollywood. But he didn’t rappel.
His sister, Tina, who died about 10 years ago at age 38, was involved with the Special Olympics. He knew he had to do something really big this year.
“I wanted to raise an insane amount of money,” he said. The minimum required to participate is $1,000. He set a goal of raising $10,000. And then he did it. He said he just reached out to all his friends. “There’s power in numbers,” he said.
Civillico is learning that, too.
He said he’s been involved in charitable organizations for years. Performing free shows for charities “really kind-of started everything for me,” he said. He feels like he should give back, as much as he can.
In addition to performing, and participating in events like Over the Edge, he also started a charity a while back. Win-Win Entertainment focuses on matching charities with celebrities who can donate their time. Unicycles aren’t required.
The event is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. 5 p.m. Saturday.
For more information or to participate, visit www.overtheedgelasvegas.com.
Contact reporter Richard Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0307.