How do you earn the title of “Most fearless person?” One way is to take a plunge—365 feet off the side of a building—in support of brain cancer awareness. Nearly 80 people did just that at the Over the Edge for Brain Cancer challenge this past weekend in support of the nonprofit organization Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2). ABC2 is a current grantee of the Case Foundation andpartners with leading entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers to drive cutting edge research and treatments to find a cure for brain cancer.
Brain cancer is the leading cause of tumor cancer deaths among children and young adults. More than 600,000 people in the U.S. live with a brain tumor diagnosis, and another 66,000 new diagnoses are expected this year. It is a uniquely challenging disease that is not only in need of additional attention, but also an increase in strategic, focused research funding.
“Over the Edge captured the spirit of what we do as an organization,” said Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2. “We fund the most adventurous brain cancer researchers doing the most cutting-edge work.”
American Idol® winner David Cook, who lost his brother to brain cancer four years ago, took the inaugural plunge with Wallace right on his heels. Other edgers included, Dr. Bob Carter, Chief of Neurosurgery at the UC San Diego Health System whose patients gathered on the ground to cheer for him.
Each of the “edgers” committed to raising funds in exchange for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rappel down the tallest building on the San Diego skyline, the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Collectively, the event raised more than $143,000, with the highest fundraisers including: David Cook ($21,443), Max Wallace ($8,931), Dr. Bob Carter ($8,401), Ranelle Kain ($7,275), and Kyra Sweda ($6,627). All proceeds from the event will fund San Diego-based brain cancer research and ABC2’s partner, the UC San Diego Health System.
Two inspiring brain cancer survivors and endurance athletes, Ironwoman BethAnn Telford, national brain cancer advocate, and Monica Allen, a local San Diego resident and marathoner, took the plunge together. Both women refuse to let their brain cancer diagnoses slow them down. “Over the Edge was a amazing experience,” said Telford. “What an honor to rappel alongside a fellow brain cancer fighter with our family and supporters cheering for us from below and afar. This is one adrenalin rush I will never forget.”
The Case Foundation’s own Cara Perellis (pictured above) also took the plunge making the decent in record time. “Since joining the Case Foundation last year, I’ve absolutely developed a new attitude towards life, and want more than ever to contribute—even in a small way—to help better the world, country, and my community,” said Perellis. “I wanted to go over the edge to help share the organization’s mission and ask for support through my network of family and friends to bring more attention to brain cancer and the impact it has on so many Americans.”
Want to learn how you can get involved and support brain cancer awareness? Check out Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure video recapping the event below.