Supporters rappel 13 stories for Special Olympics

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JEFFERSON CITY - Supporters climbed down a 13-story building in Jefferson City in support of the Special Olympics Saturday.

This is the fourth year for the Over the Edge fundraising event in Jefferson City. "Edgers" must raise at least $1,000 to rappel down the Jefferson State Office Building. Stacy Jones, partnership manager, said the goal is to raise $100,000.

One of the athletes, Derek Sandbothe, raised over $10,000. He said he raised the money to show Special Olympics how grateful he is for everything the program has done for him.

"I want to thank Special Olympics for what they've given to me as an athlete," Sandbothe said. "Without funding, we wouldn't have any sports and events. We wouldn't have these different activities, trainings, state games [and] regionals. Without that, our lives would just not be what they are today. So a big thanks to the Special Olympics for what they have done for us."

Kasie Zimmerman works for Special Olympics and was a member of the "Thelma and Louise" fundraising team. She said she hosted events throughout the summer, including a bake sale, a volleyball tournament and silent auction, and raised a total of $4,200. She said climbing down the building was "scary and intense."

"There's so many feelings. You're so happy but you're scared, and now I'm excited to be off the wall. But I'm going to do it again I think next year," Zimmerman said. "I have a sister who's an athlete in Iowa with Special Olympics, so to me it's getting out and being a part of the community and helping people."

Zimmerman said there are more than 17,000 athletes in Missouri. Jones said it costs $450 per athlete to train and compete year-round. 90 cents of every dollar raised goes to the organization.

Jared Niemeyer, athlete, said he wasn't scared to rappel down the building and it felt "great."

"The event is awesome," Niemeyer said. "It is my honor to raise money for Special Olympics."