Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leaping from Tall Building for Good Cause

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leaping from Tall Building for Good Cause

Article excerpt

JERSEY CITY -- With the "Batgirl" logo blazoned on her chest and a yellow cape draped from her shoulders, Stacy D'Arc edged toward the rooftop's edge. A helicopter buzzed past at eye level. The upper portion of One World Trade Center, just across the Hudson River, disappeared into the clouds.

D'Arc, standing 480 feet from the ground, checked that the harness she was wearing was properly strapped into a two-rope pulley system, backed herself onto a waist-high ledge and then pushed off, backward.

"It's a lot to process," D'Arc, 49, of Fort Lee, had said moments earlier as she soaked in the commanding view of the Manhattan skyline and New Jersey's Gold Coast. "I'm not terribly coordinated."

But 18 minutes later, D'Arc gently touched ground after rappelling down all 35 stories of the Harborside Plaza 5 office building in downtown Jersey City. She was one of more than 50 people from across the country -- including a large contingent from Merrill Lynch -- who raised at least $1,500 each on behalf of the American Cancer Society to earn the right to complete the harrowing descent on Saturday.

The participants wore ribbons with the names of loved ones affected by cancer. D'Arc said she had raised money in memory of her uncle, who had died from lung cancer, as well as one of her favorite bands, the Ramones, who had lost three of its four original members to the disease.

"I try to do something for the American Cancer Society each year," D'Arc said, adding that she was attracted to this event in particular to defy those people who have "weird expectations of what a 49-year-old chubby woman should be doing."

Saturday's event, which grossed more than $107,000, was produced by a company called Over the Edge, which takes professional rope- access techniques like those used in high-rise window washing or antenna installation and applies them to fundraising events. Of the dozens of structures Over the Edge selects for rappelling activities in the United States, the building used Saturday was is tallest. …

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