Philanthropists wanting more fun and excitement for their fundraising dollars will step off a 30-story building 

Over the Edge for Special Olympics Oklahoma
Thursday
SandRidge Energy building
123 Robert S. Kerr
specialolympicsoklahoma.org

Bake sales don't have much sizzle. 5K runs aren't exactly extreme. Golf tournaments rarely qualify as death-defying.

But Special Olympics Oklahoma organizers believe thrill-seeking philanthropists should be able to feed their adrenaline jones while doing good work for the community. To that end, these brave and bold good Samaritans will be dropped over the side of a skyscraper.

Special Olympics Oklahoma has partnered with Over the Edge, which hosts rappelling events for nonprofits nationwide. Participants will zip down the SandRidge Energy building on Thursday, and on Saturday at Tulsa's Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. To get the chance to dangle over city streets, participants had to raise $1,200 for the nonprofit.

Derek Cain, Special Olympics Oklahoma development director, said safety concerns led the organization to shelve the event for two years to see how it played out elsewhere. Cain said he was so impressed that they decided to organize the event for 2010.

"They actually bring in experts that are trained in rappelling and government-minimum standards," Cain said. "There is safety check after safety check. You won't have a volunteer out there holding the rope over the side of a building. These are trained professionals."

Jeff Sullins is one of the participants who will step off the side of the 30-story tower. His daughter Lindsey has been competing in Special Olympics events since she was 6. Although the event offers him a chance to tap into his adventurous side, it was the importance to Special Olympics Oklahoma that made him want to play.

"Attending the competitions, you really see the great love, effort, time and commitment the staff and volunteers of Special Olympics put into supporting the kids," Sullins said. "To be able to benefit from all of their work as a parent who has a special-needs child is a blessing. This is a very small way to help support them and all the kids."

Cain said his goal for both events is $150,000. Every penny counts, since the organization to supports year-round events.

"A lot of people hear about our summer and winter games, but we have over 120 events that go on throughout the year," he said. "We have 9,500 Special Olympic athletes that compete in these events."

Sullins said the role Special Olympics has played in his family is why he's willing to take the extra step to give back, even if that step leads him off a skyscraper's side.

But he's not scared.

"I am more excited than anything else right now," he said. "That could change, though, when I am actually looking down from the top of the building." "Charles Martin

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