CHARLA HUBER: Fear of heights won’t stop me

Easter Seals fundraiser a step out from comfort zone for reporter

If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I would not be one to follow.

I am not a big fan of heights or thrill-seeking, but when the opportunity came to rappel down a 13-storey building, I couldn’t say no.

This year, it’s my turn to participate in the Easter Seals Drop Zone on behalf of Black Press. Every year, one of my colleagues takes the brave step off of the Standard Life building. Other years I could have volunteered, but I never raised my hand. This year I was personally asked to take on the challenge and I felt, since it was presented to me, I should go for it.

The annual event raises money for children to go to Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan. Each year, 300 campers – children with mental, cognitive or physical disabilities – attend the week-long camps which cost $2,400 per child. Fundraising events, such as the Drop Zone, help cover the costs for each child to attend.

As a mother, I count my blessings every day that my daughter is happy and healthy. If I need to conquer my fear of heights to help another child get the opportunity to go to camp, it’s the least I can do.

These days, it’s hard to provide our children with all of the opportunities we would like to give them and attending camp is just one of those life experiences that adds to a well-balanced childhood.

As a kid, my family couldn’t afford to send me to camp and I was lucky enough to attend one on a grant provided by the camp.

I still have fond memories of sleeping on the bottom bunk in a warm, wood cabin, sitting around a roaring campfire, swimming in the chilly lake, meeting new friends and making necklaces out of seeded berries I collected on a walk in the trees. The experience given to me will last a lifetime.

The kids who attend Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan have far more obstacles between them and those exciting days at summer camp than I did when I was young, and I hope my efforts in the Drop Zone will allow another child carry fond memories of the camp experience with them well into adulthood.

I’ve only recently agreed to take part in the Sept. 12 event, and already it doesn’t feel real. I don’t have any butterflies in my stomach yet, but I am sure they will come.

Part of the fundraiser is having all the participants dress up as super heroes for the feat of lowering themselves to the ground.

I am not sure if I am more worried about the heights or looking silly in public. I’ve never liked dressing up in costumes and instead of having fun with it, I just feel awkward and weird.

As a child, I wished I could go trick-or-treating in plain clothes; walking around with face-paint and a cape on wasn’t something I ever embraced.

Even as an adult taking taekwondo I felt silly in a gi, even though everyone else was wearing them too. I felt so awkward that I opted for kick boxing instead.

In the past couple of years I’ve managed to lose more than 90 pounds and I feel the Drop Zone is something I can do now, that maybe I couldn’t have before. Then I think about the children that are able to go to camp through East Seals fundraisers such as this. Without the specialized camp, many of these children would never have the opportunity to experience a unique week of summer fun.

While this is a personal challenge for myself, I also want to challenge all Black Press readers to donate to the cause. If together we can raise $2,400, we can cover the cost of sending one kid to camp.

All I can do now is remind myself that Drop Zone is for the children and it’s another opportunity for me to get out of my element, experience something new and hopefully have another memorable experience that will stay with me for life.

To sponsor me go to dropzone.ca/victoria. Click on “Sponsor a Hero” and select Charla Huber.

Charla Huber is a reporter with the Goldstream News Gazette.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

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