Cori’s Easter Seals drop zone story
On September 27, 2005, Cori Maedel rappelled herself down the side of a downtown Vancouver office building at 1185 West Georgia. She was a Superhero for a day at The Drop Zone! Every penny raised for this fundraising event remains in our community to help local Easter Seals.
Find out more about The Drop Zone!
Here is what Cori had to say about her experience:
Building up to the event I was aware of a nagging nervousness, but chose not to focus on it. As the day drew closer it became harder to ignore but I continued to choose not to dwell on it. Finally the day arrived, and I was caught up in the excitement and atmosphere of being there with the other rappellers, seeing everyone else in their costumes, and generally enjoying the excitement and anticipation of the onlookers.
Then came the time to make my way up to the top floor to be fitted out with my safety gear. It was time to face my lingering fear. Coming from below, I could hear the first rappeller who was from CFOX, talking over the microphone about his experience. I tried not to listen as I found my anxiety was starting to build, and I needed all my concentration to keep it under control. It seemed just a matter of minutes before I found myself being escorted with “Super Man”, Archie Campbell, to the roof.
Standing on the top on such a beautiful day, I took in the beauty of Stanley Park with its fall trees way below as I waited. Then came the dreaded words telling me to go and stand over by the edge. The view was breathtaking, and a welcome distraction. After being harnessed and connected to the ropes I was told to sit on the edge of the building with my back to the wind. I found a moment’s courage to look over my shoulder and down at the street. It seemed like a blur of windows, cars and people and I had to look away as the fear again welled up. I was then told to swing my feet around and hang them off the building. I could control it no more…I was struck with terror. Archie Campbell was in the same position at the other rope, a little way away from me. I looked at him and thought I was looking at a ghost, his face was so white. He reflected my fear, and at that moment I knew I could not look at him again.
I slowly turned onto my stomach, gingerly slid myself over the edge, and as I hung 16 floors above street level, I was overwhelmed with fear. It was indescribable: my mouth was so dry it felt like a sandy desert, and my heart felt as though it would burst through my chest. For a second it felt like the fear would win, but I focused on the support I had received from so many people and reminded myself that I was doing this for sick kids and that, in itself, gave me courage. My determination was renewed: I could not let them down. I listened to my inner guide and slowly lowered myself into the safekeeping of the ropes (notwithstanding a few four letter words!).
Then something strange happened. A new reality became mine as I felt the security in the strength of the ropes. This had been a monumental experience up to this point, fighting the fear dragon and then realizing you’d won. I wondered at that moment if I would ever be the same again. There was a lot that was new in my life experience right then, to say the least. My whole body was suddenly thrust into a position that was not quite natural. But there was another fear hurdle left for me to conquer. My natural instincts wanted to cling to the building, but my training had taught me that I had to lean out 45 degrees to rappel. I had to do this one last step. As I leaned back, looking straight ahead, I noticed people in the offices on the top floor waving encouragement at me through the window. It was quite surreal.
Slowly I lowered myself and found myself beginning to really enjoy it. I felt the freedom to just let go (not of the rope of course) and participate fully in what I was doing. I was able to look down, wave at people I managed to recognize, and just relax in the experience. When I touched down, I felt incredibly relieved but also exhilarated.
I later remarked to my husband, Jim, how crazy it is that we let fear get in the way of so much. I knew I was safe and yet fear came so close to winning out. If we continue to push ourselves to new heights (no pun intended), keep challenging our own status quo, life is just so much richer. Other unexpected things also happen: in this case, Archie Campbell and I knew each other for less than 30 minutes, yet sharing this experience with him I have a hunch we will become friends. So you never know what riches await us until we push past our comfort zone and really step into our own potential. I do feel that I am slightly changed; better than I was yesterday because I did this. I stretched myself way beyond all of my comfort zones, and I am again reminded that we, as individuals, can do anything we set our minds to. The only thing that keeps us back is our limiting beliefs. Dream big, play big!
“Whatever a mind can conceive and believe, it will achieve.” Napoleon Hill