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This article was published 22/8/2017 (787 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s an ear-popping elevator ride that’s sure to make lumps rise in the throats of some of the 65 people signed up to rappel 272 feet back down to Earth for charity.
Allie Onslow is one of them.
"I’m excited but nervous," said Allie.
Seated in a wheelchair with pink foam noodles taped to the sides and Hawaiian leis hanging from the handlebars, Allie — who has cerebral palsy— was ready to rappel in style.
"When Allie was born she was three months premature and she weighed two pounds and five ounces," said her mom Wendy Onslow. "At the time we didn’t know if she was going to walk or talk or anything, but Allie can definitely speak her mind and make choices. She can do some things for herself, but walking she cannot."
It was Allie’s first time participating in Drop Zone, the fundraising event for the Society of Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD), but she's been involved with the organization for years as a client, volunteer and ambassador.
"She always wanted to do it, and we told her when she turned 18 she could do it, so here we are," said her mom.
After turning 18 last September, Allie and her family had lots of time to fundraise the minimum of $1,500 needed to make the plunge.
Allie and her partner, an SMD board member, ended up raising more than $5,000.
Tuesday marked the second time the event was held at Manitoba Hydro Place, where rappellers start 72 feet higher than at the last location.
The money raised will help children, youth and adults with disabilities in Manitoba, a province where 1 in 6 people live with a disability.
With a goal of $170,000, funds from the 13th annual Drop Zone will support programs like power-chair hockey, a sport Allie has been playing for years.
Donations will also fund a program that reimburses essential, everyday technology like wheelchairs, canes and mechanical lifts — needs that "continue to rise each and every year," said Armando Versaci, marketing manager at SMD Foundation.
"For someone who is participating in Drop Zone, they're stepping out of their comfort zones, they're challenging themselves, and they're challenging their fears," said Versaci.
"People with disabilities challenge their comfort zones each and every day as they maneuver through their communities."
For Allie, Tuesday's event caps off summer with a bang as she embarks on a year of big changes.
She starts a two-year work program at high school in September, before graduating and later moving into community living.
It’s not a future that most teenagers face at 18, but if her fearless attitude toward the daredevil act suggests something, it’s that she’s not limited to anything.
"I think it tells people that people in wheelchairs can do anything, and to me that's a lot, and I'm very proud," said her mom.
From the block party on the street below, Allie looked no different from the other participants, save for the streamers that flew in the wind but managed to stay on her wheelchair as she descended to the tune of Katy Perry’s Roar and cheers of the crowd below.
At the second-floor landing, Allie was all smiles and couldn’t wait to do it again.
Updated on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 8:56 PM CDT: Adds photo