Yesterday I took on a charity challenge to freefall abseil off the highest sculpture in the UK, the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford. The day was organised to support the Canine Partners charity, and as I’ve always loved climbing but never been as comfortable with abseiling, I thought it was the perfect reason to face my fear and get my adrenaline pumping!
Canine Partners, are an amazing charity that trains puppies to becomes assistance dogs and transform the lives of people with disabilities. The charity doesn’t receive any government funding and relies solely on donations, so any money raised is really important to them, hence they run challenge days throughout the year for the adventurous to get involved. Everything from skydiving to cycling to experiences abroad.
It’s August, so we were hoping for clear skies, this wasn’t the case, but luckily it was dry and a balmy 23 degrees. We were a small group of seven, and a few people worked for Canine Partners so were able to answer all my questions about the puppy training (a good distraction for us all as we got kitted up). When ready we made our way up the elevators and were clipped into position by the team at Wire and Sky. We were abseiling two at a time but just as my instructor started to show me the ropes, the wind started to hit me quite hard and my stomach started to turn. I decided getting down quickly was the way to go, but first I would have to face my fear and lie back horizontally against the orbit before launching myself off the structure. I was nervous and moving my feet slowly but the instructor sensed my fear and talked me through it, and within a few moves my feet were dangling and no longer touching anything!
At that point I felt free, and all my fears were gone, I looked around at the panoramic views and then started to lower myself, I realised how to increase and decrease the speed of my freefall and felt comfortably in control. I looked down at the crowds of people enjoying their Sunday morning routines in the Queen Elizabeth Park, some stopped to stare at me so I waved until they waved back.
I enjoyed the wind in my hair so I descended quickly and was met with a cheer from the support team at Canine Partners, and even a few kisses from the labradors.
Why not step out of your comfort zone and take on a personal challenge?
It was a great experience and a very different way to spend a Sunday in London, so for anyone wanting to challenge themselves, and to help a good cause at the same time, I recommend doing one of Canine Partners’ challenges. Of course, you can also help without doing anything crazy, from donating money to volunteering your time to help train these amazing puppies and transform someones life.
#caninepartners #amazingdogs #transforminglives