Results tagged ‘ Shatterproof Day ’
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.
The other day I received an e-mail from Tyler Barnes, Brewers vice president – communications. Tyler and I exchange countless e-mails each day. In the nine years that I have worked for him, this one will always stick out.
“Hi, John. Do you have any interest in jumping off a building?” it read.
I was a bit startled, but kept my composure and read on. I learned that I wouldn’t technically be jumping off a building, rather I would be rappelling. That made me a little more comfortable. Add that it will benefit charity and I was in.
With a high-risk operation like rappelling down an 18-story building in downtown Milwaukee, it is clear that Tyler probably reached pretty far down the staff totem pole before getting to me (or maybe not, who knows!). After reading more into the cause, I was happy to get the call and happy to promote the event.
The cause we will be supporting: looking to end the stigma and suffering of those affected by diseases of addiction. On Tuesday, Brewers Community Foundation will partner with Shatterproof to celebrate “Shatterproof Day” at Miller Park. Shatterproof addresses the issues of addiction and provides families with much needed support. In addition, they work to promote addiction related research.
As a part of the daylong celebration, Shatterproof will host the “Shatterproof Challenge” in downtown Milwaukee where about 80 people will join me to rappel down the side of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Sophia Minnaert of FOX Sports Wisconsin will be there rappelling as well. Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer is also scheduled to appear at the event. For some odd reason, Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin wouldn’t allow Schafer to rappel (definitely for the best)!
The height of the hotel is about 230 feet tall, a far cry from my only wall climbing/rappelling experience that came as an 11-year old kid at YMCA Camp Minikani (Camp friends: what was the height of that wall? 30 feet? Regardless, it seemed like 230 feet at the time.). This will be a challenge, but a far-cry from the challenges facing the beneficiaries of Shatterproof.
The cause here is what is important. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is the third largest killer in the United States behind cancer and heart disease. This disease impacts over 25 million Americans and 135,000 lives are lost to this each year. Shatterproof is in its infancy as an organization and I am happy to help them get the word out about a disease that our society is often afraid to face. Getting the cause out to the public in a way like this is long overdue.
Beyond what takes place in downtown Milwaukee on Tuesday, Shatterproof will be well represented at Miller Park later that night. A Shatterproof table will be set up on the Field Level concourse distributing literature and Shatterproof President Gary Mendall will toss the ceremonial first pitch.
Mendall founded Shatterproof after the death of his son, Brian, who suffered from the disease of addiction and took his own life in 2011. With a personal gift of $5 million, and a goal of transforming the way addiction is prevented and treated, Shatterproof was born.
How can you help? There are a number of ways. I have set up a personal fundraising page where you can give to the cause and show your support. Thanks for whatever donation you can offer! Or, you can join me on Tuesday by rappelling yourself. There is still time to register and raise the funds needed to rappel down the side of one of Milwaukee’s most iconic buildings.
For more information on Shatterproof and their resources they offer, visit shatterproof.org.
Stay tuned to the blog as I will have pictures and video from my “jump” on Tuesday!