Surviving the Shatterproof Challenge
Everything was falling into place this morning as I prepared for my rappel down the side of the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. The sun was out, the temperature was cool and the wind was relatively calm. My nerves calm as well as I rode the elevator up from the lobby to the Polaris restaurant for check-in around 11 a.m. this morning.
Maybe it was that I had spent many memorable family birthday dinners at the Polaris restaurant as a kid and it brought back some good memories, but I was ready to make the 240 foot drop for Shatterproof.
I met Sophia Minnaert of FOX Sports Wisconsin, who also was making the rappel today, at the Polaris (I suggest doing this with a friend, it makes things a little easier). We signed our lives away (a lot of waivers) and walked around to pick up our equipment. Harnesses, clips, straps, helmets, ropes, gloves and walkie-talkies. Getting dressed took a long time. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and they knew what they were doing.
“Safety first, safety last and safety always,” was the motto. The staff from Shatterproof and Over The Edge made us feel comfortable and safe every “step” of the way. Some of the staff had been “cavers”–explorers of caves all over the world. We met a firefighter from Green Bay who was on the rescue squad and had a love of climbing. Everyone was so nice and helpful, it made the drop much more comfortable.
The drop itself didn’t take too long, but was great. Of course, the view from the top of the Hyatt was fantastic–the clear day made it perfect. I looked down and saw my Dad and my friend Jeno down at the bottom. I think they might have been more nervous than I was! I waved to them at the top as I started to lower myself down and they nervously waved back.
During the training session before the rappel down the wall, they said to “trust the rope.” That was hard to do at first, but as you trusted the rope, the drop got more comfortable. It was very smooth and somewhat relaxing.
As I landed, a sense of relief and accomplishment came over me. We made it and we helped raise awareness for a great cause. As I stated in my first blog about this event, Shatterproof is a new organization, but has a great message. Shatterproof has “four strategic pillars” that it uses:
1. Unite, amplify and empower the voices of millions of American families struggling with addiction
2. End the stigma of the disease in order to make treatment more accessible
3. Research and innovate to identify and put into practice evidence-based programs and strategies
4. Advocate for changes in public policy to advance effective treatment and recovery.
With that being said, you can still make a donation on my personal donation page. It would be great to get over the $1,000 mark! Thanks to all of my friends who have donated so far! My wife, Kate, my parents, my sister, Mary Kate, LJ and Sarah Rosales, Matt Armitage, Mike Drescher, Andrew Rutberg, Michelle and Mike Peterson, Emily Begel and, the founder of Shatterproof, Gary Mendall. Thank you for making the jump with me today and contributing to this great cause!
Over the next 20 years, Shatterproof will focus on three measurable goals:
1. Reduce by 50% the number of people addicted to alcohol and other drugs
2. Reduce by 50% the number of deaths from addiction-related substances
3. Reduce by 50% the societal costs of addiction.
I was happy to help Shatterproof make steps to those goals today.
FOX Sports Wisconsin cameraman Mario Hurt caught the above footage that aired on tonight’s broadcast.
A special thank you also goes out to Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer and Brewers Senior Director – Community Relations Katina Shaw who stopped by the event this afternoon. They were a little disappointed they missed our jump and tried to talk us into doing it again. I thought for a split second to go back up, but had my fun for the day.
This evening at Miller Park, Shatterproof Day continued. Mendall threw out the ceremonial first pitch and representatives of the group had an information table set up with plenty of information and facts on the organization. Stay tuned to the blog
Be sure to visit Shatterproof.org to learn more about the organization and how you can help. It takes more than a simple jump to help the more than 22 million Americans struggling with diseases of addiction and the more than 100 million family members who share their pain.