Lifestyle

Arlington mom rappels down Rainier Tower to benefit Special Olympics

Arlington resident Sandy Catiis makes her way down the Rainier Tower in Seattle on Saturday, Aug. 14, during the “Over the Edge” fundraiser for Special Olympics Washington. - Courtesy Photo
Arlington resident Sandy Catiis makes her way down the Rainier Tower in Seattle on Saturday, Aug. 14, during the “Over the Edge” fundraiser for Special Olympics Washington.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

SEATTLE — Sandy Catiis was nervous when she climbed the Rainier Tower, but her son kept her motivated.

“I thought of how many challenges Josh faces on a daily basis,” said Catiis, an Arlington resident. “I should be able to face this fear, be brave and complete the challenge at hand. For the Arlington Eagles Special Olympic Team — my inspiration — I did it.”

With her 22-year-old son, who has autism, cheering her on, Catiis recently rappelled down the side of the 500-foot Seattle skyscraper during Special Olympics Washington’s “Over the Edge” fundraiser.

The event raised more than $181,000 — including $1,300 from Catiis — for the state organization.

Catiis, 49, was one of about 100 participants to take part in the downward climb on Saturday, Aug. 14, which required participants to scale down the side of the building using not much more than a harness, a helmet and a rope.

Catiis said that it took her about 20 minutes to reach the bottom of the tower.

“The hardest part for me was not going ‘Over the Edge’ — albeit that was a long way down — but about one-third of the way down I got tired and looked around,” Catiis said. “There I am, hundreds of feet in the air, dangling by a mere 1/4 inch rope.”

Participants were required to raise $1,000 in donations in order to rappel down Rainier Tower.

Beth Wojick, CEO for Special Olympics Washington, said in a letter to Over the Edge participants that their contributions were much-needed.

“Special Olympics Washington barely has our nose above water in this recession, so we were very concerned about how to pay for our team to go to (the) National Games,” Wojick said. “Over the Edge put us over the top and you all raised enough money to pay for our team of athletes to attend (the) National Games, no problem.”

With the event, organizers were hoping to raise more than $120,000 for about 7,500 Special Olympics athletes in Washington.

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