It's not very often you see someone hanging off the side of a seventeen storey building, especially someone that's afraid of heights. But that's just what Rheal Lesage did last August at the Easter Seals Drop Zone event to prove that individuals of all abilities can get involved and make a difference.
Easter Seals Drop Zone is an annual fundraising event for The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD Foundation/Easter Seals Manitoba). Rheal and 54 other brave and dedicated "Superheroes" from Manitoba businesses, media and the community rappelled down the Royal Bank Building in downtown Winnipeg. All rappellers collected a minimum of $1,500 in pledges to participate in this adventure of a lifetime. Rheal and his fellow Superheroes are members of an exclusive club of over 1400 Canadians who have challenged their comfort zones to raise over $1.9 million dollars for Easter Seals Canada and its provincial affiliates since 2005.
Rheal was inspired to take the plunge and overcome his fear of heights by his two beautiful daughters. "Morgan said she wanted to play piano for the children that were sick in the hospital," Rheal explains. "When I asked why, she said that they have nothing to do and no one to play with and she would like to do something for them. The Drop Zone event is my way of showing Morgan that I am doing my part for those less fortunate as well. It's my way of showing her that I care too."
Rheal not only conquered his fear of heights, he climbed to the top of the fundraising ladder, raising more than $11,000 of the total $88,000 in pledges solicited by Superheroes in 2008 for SMD Foundation/Easter Seals Manitoba. In the past 2 years that they have participated in the Easter Seals Drop Zone fundraising event, thanks to Rheal's dedication and commitment, Procurity has placed 2nd in Canada for total monies raised. Every penny raised remains in the community to help kids and adults with disabilities.
Rheal is reluctant to take credit for his accomplishment. "I couldn't have done it without the support of my family, friends and the generosity of our independent pharmacy sponsors." In Rheal's opinion, if he can be an Easter Seals Superhero, anyone can. "All it takes is determination and persistence," he says. These qualities embody the spirit of the Drop Zone event and the community that Easter Seals and SMD support.
Rheal can't wait to scale another tall building in Drop Zone 2009. "It allows our independent pharmacy community to make a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities," explains Rheal. This year, he has set a personal goal of raising $15,000 in pledges on behalf of Procurity, CounterCare Pharmacies, and CounterWise Drug Marts. He looks forward to seeing both familiar faces and new ones when he joins the Superheroes for the thrill of a lifetime.
Drop Zone 2009 kicks off in August 2009, but it's never to early to challenge your comfort zone.
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