“Jaw-dropping, Fun-filled, Over – too- quickly; it was without a doubt the greatest thrill of my life!”

 
 
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In 2017, André Goldenberg decided it was time to check one more thing off his bucket-list and face his fear of heights. As a cautious and fairly risk-adverse guy, rappelling down the side of the building would not be one of the first places his friends and family would guess to find him, in-fact it may have been close to the last, but that is just where they happened to see him last June, as they watched him participate in the 2017 Cliffhanger event, from 16 stories below.

Like many, André was initially intimated by the fundraising goal (although only $750 this year, it was $1,000 when he first participated) – so intimidated that he had thought there was no way he was ever going to reach it. However, that quickly changed. In fact, he ended up raising over double the initial target. André credits his fundraising success to two main factors: his wife and friends and the power of social media.

 “My wife posted my fundraising link on her Facebook page, and it went viral (relatively speaking). I asked friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers… And those people in turn found me new donors! It was incredible; from close family members to friends- of –friends-of-friends and near strangers.”

The day of the event was surreal – in his own words it sounds like “SHEER LUNACY”  

“ [You] drive to a nice building downtown, sandwiched between the Queensway and the Museum of Nature, take an elevator to the roof, get strapped into a harness, and then climb over the edge, and just start walking down, like Spider-Man!”

While it was a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, André admits that never once did it feel scary to him. “The staff and volunteers were amazing, so friendly, reassuring and confident, and it was just easy and fun. You are shown how the equipment works, you can ask any questions you like, you go at the pace you want, and a guide goes down with you the whole way. You are so busy listening to and following the instructions, before you know it, you are back on the ground!”

In 2017, André brought along an entire cheering section - his wife Michèle, her parents, his own parents and sister, his friend Bassel, and his cycle instructor Michelle Cook. They hung out and talked to me beforehand and kept me calm, cracking jokes and staying loose. They hugged me before I left and cheered me on. And, to top it all off, once I was at the top, they unfurled a HUGE and AMAZING banner that my wife had spray-painted, as a surprise, cheering me on and congratulating me on reaching my fundraising goal! I was so shocked and so touched, I could see it clearly from the roof, and it was very moving and exciting and inspirational.”

As a member of the Y for more than 5 years, André was generally aware of the Y’s efforts to ensure that people can access services and programs regardless of their financial circumstances – something he thinks is “truly an amazing (and rare) thing”, something he wanted to be a part of. Thanks to André’s efforts and his ability to face his fear, he alone is responsible for ensuring ten children had the opportunity to attend camp last year! This year André has decided to take up the challenge once again – except this time his wife Michèle won’t be down on the ground cheering him on, she will be by his side at the top.  (She is threatening to go down face first, something he is certain he will talk her out of by event day!)

It is not too late for you to join André and Michèle at this year’s Cliffhanger event on Thursday, June 14th! Don’t think you have what it takes? Here is what André says to that:

“It is easy! The hardest part is that first step off the ledge. Once that’s done, you’re basically back in grade school, climbing down the rope ladder during gym class, except this time instead of faulty equipment, screaming classmates, bored teachers, and ritual humiliation, you’ve got state-of-the-art professional equipment, supportive staff and volunteers, and a wonderful, fun-filled atmosphere.”

 
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“It is easy! The hardest part is that first step off the ledge. Once that’s done, you’re basically back in grade school, climbing down the rope ladder during gym class, except this time instead of faulty equipment, screaming classmates, bored teachers, and ritual humiliation, you’ve got state-of-the-art professional equipment, supportive staff and volunteers, and a wonderful, fun-filled atmosphere.”

Thanks to PBC Group and our valued sponsors, 100% of funds raised go directly to sending kids to camp. That is right, for every $200 you raise – you are giving a child in our community the opportunity to experience a life changing camp!