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Thrill seekers to go 'over the edge' for Bristol YWCA and Speedway Children's Charities

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jan 24, 2018 at 7:56 PM

Speedway Children's Charities and the YWCA of Bristol are teaming for a spine-tingling, “over the edge” benefit to help both organizations.

Set for April 7 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Over The Edge benefit is open to 85 thrill seekers brave enough to step over the side of the iconic BMS colosseum elevator tower for a one-of-a-kind 10-story rappel.

The unique, adrenaline-inducing fundraiser promises to give participants a safe, once-in-a-lifetime experience and an all-new perspective on the famed half-mile oval at Bristol. For anyone so inclined, Spider-Man costumes will be welcome but completely optional.

Over the Edge, a professional rappelling organization that has raised over $70 million for charitable organizations through similar benefits open to thrill seekers from their teens to their 80s, will lead the event at Bristol and provide all the necessary equipment and expertise.

Kathy Waugh, Bristol YWCA chief executive officer, said, “What we need most are brave hearts willing to go over the edge to help uplift others in our community.

“This fundraiser will have a massive impact for the working parents and at-risk girls we serve every day,” she said.

Claudia Byrd, executive director of the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, said, “Thrill seekers are in for a real treat during this one-of-a-kind, 10-story experience.

“We’re always looking for new ways to build awareness and generate funds for children in need in this region,” Byrd said. “The Bristol tower is an iconic landmark in both the local and NASCAR communities and the perfect location for this fundraiser.”

Since its inception in 1996, the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities has raised nearly $11 million for nonprofit child and youth service organizations in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia through a variety of fundraising activities led by the annual Speedway in Lights holiday light display at BMS. In November, SCC awarded grants totaling $850,000 to 93 charitable organizations across the region, including its annual $50,000 Jeff Byrd Grant presented this year to Waiting to Hear, a Johnson City-based organization helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The YWCA’s mission is to empower young women, eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. At work in Bristol since 1943, the YWCA has historically tackled tough community issues, including affordable childcare, racial justice, teen pregnancy, technology education and youth development programs.

For those who wish to help either or both organizations, the Over the Edge benefit is open to the first 85 brave souls to meet the benefit’s minimum $1,500 fundraising goal. Top fundraisers can also earn an opportunity to “toss the boss” off the BMS tower.

“Edgers” are invited to sign up individually or as a team and set up an online fundraising page where friends, families, co-workers and others may chip in donations of $10, $25, $50 or $100 to help the local organizations and women, children and families they serve.

To register, donate or learn more about the Over the Edge event, visit otecwe.com/bristol. More information on the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities is available at SpeedwayCharities.org/Bristol. More information about YMCA of Bristol is available at ywcabristol.org.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538 or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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