Facing my fears for a great cause...Make a Wish!

Jim Bledsoe
3 years ago

Each person's motivation to get involved in a great cause is uniquely their own. I've been incredibly blessed with a great family and great friends. I've long admired the Make a Wish foundation and earlier this year was honored to be asked to join the Regional Board of Trustees. Totally subscribing to MaW's mission, I had the additional privilege and motivation of knowing Neale Mahon, a former Wish Kid. Neale battled life-threatening brain tumors as a six year old in Ohio and was granted a wish to go to Disneyworld with his family that same year. 21+ years later, I'm happy to say that Neale is a survivor and even happier that he has become involved once again with Make a Wish, this time as an Ambassador back in his home state of Ohio!

I'm not a huge fan of heights. Rappelling was not on my bucket list. However, confronting my fears for such a great cause is totally in my wheelhouse. I've got this. I look forward to strapping on the gear and letting technique and gravity (at a reasonable pace, mind you) deliver me safely to the ground. Whether at the top or safely on the ground, I look forward to the celebration of money raised to facilitate granting "another Neale" their wish. When you can look into the eyes of a six year old, see not only the excitement, but the HOPE, and know you're a part of something bigger than yourself...THAT'S reward! Enjoy the pictures of Neale "then and now"
Jim Bledsoe

Jim Bledsoe
3 years ago

And Neale these days!

Molly Muir
3 years ago

Facing my Fears for a Great Cause this wknd - Make A Wish is close to my heart - I was inspired by my neighbor, Madeleine (10) who battled terminal brain cancer gioblastoma - for 14 months... Make A Wish granted her wish to go to L.A. and be a Director for a Day on the set for Big Time Rush. She returned empowered, excited and happy - it was a turning point. She showed us all the meaning of courage & strength and inspired me to Go Over the Edge for Make A Wish 4 years ago. She cheered me on as I faced my deepest fears and rappelled down that tall building - battling that cancer, that monster, that fear of losing her.... We lost her 2 months later...
Her epic battle and journey truly inspired me to fundraise for Make a Wish to help grant more children their amazing wishes.
Madeleine inspired me to be a better person, a stronger individual, an adventure seeker.
So when the going gets tough during the rappel, as always - I'll remind myself of all Madeleine endured during her epic battle - and I 'll listen carefully as I sway in the wind - and hopefully will hear Madeleine cheering for me...

Emily Ricks
3 years ago

Here is a great blog post from rappeller Linda!

I rappelled down 38 stories this past weekend through fundraising for Make-A-Wish. It was by far the scariest thing I have ever done. I cried when I was literally hanging on top of The W Hotel by my toes. I have done a lot of scary things in my life but don’t remember being reduced to tears. As I was crying and stalling, I heard my friends on the ground cheer me by name. Hearing my friends cheer me for the first time finally motivated me to take the first few steps.

I inched down slowly and clumsily. I’ve heard the term “spaghetti legs” a few times from unique sources describing my ungracefulness. I was instructed to descend until my butt touched the ground. After the volunteers unhooked the ropes from me, they asked me to stand up. That was when I realized I couldn’t without help. This was the second time in my life where I felt pins and needles throughout my entire body and all my extremities from the adrenaline and nerves. (The first time was when I heard upsetting news during my first experience with heartbreak.)

The Make-A-Wish volunteers hoisted me up on my feet when it was clear that I needed help. I numbly smiled the biggest smile I could muster to my excited friends waving at me. The volunteers told them I had to return my gear and get my belongings before I could join them.

After returning my gear and retrieving my belongings, I checked my phone. I received so many texts of encouragement from those who couldn’t watch in person. I was stunned by how big of a deal my loved ones were making this to be. I didn’t quite feel like I owned this challenge. I tried to tame my helmet hair before heading out. I was to go on a winery tour for the rest of the day for my friends’ surprise birthday party and my freshly washed hair was now damp with sweat.

Still in a daze, I walked out and was greeted by a neon group of smiling faces, signs, and silly string. Some of my closest friends made it and were meeting each other for the first time. Treavor met my best friend from high school. My best friend from high school met Anita. Thomas was no longer there but he got to meet some of my Austin friends. I felt so loved and lucky and yes, a little undeserving.

The thing is, I often downplay my accomplishments. I was hard on myself for being so scared and not enjoying it. The only enjoyable part for me was being done. I also thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. A lot of people rappel down buildings. No one cares. It isn’t that special. But almost a week later, my friends are patting me on the back still and just today Kim tagged me on a Facebook status bragging about me. I’m seeing myself reflected through their proud eyes and am finally reveling in this feat. They are patting my back not only because they’re sweet and loving, but because I rappelled down 38 stories!

I’ve walked by The W Hotel twice since rappelling this Saturday and each time, I looked up and thought, I rappelled down that. Just as I don’t think I could have made it down if I hadn’t heard my friends’ cheers, I don’t think I could have been proud of myself had I not got a glimpse of my reflection through their eyes.

It’s amazing what you can do if you surround yourself with people who believe in you.

This entry was posted in Love, New Thing(s) of the Week, pursuit of happiness and tagged adventure, friendship on June 18, 2014.

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