Governor Hickenlooper Goes Over the Edge for Cancer League of Colorado

By Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post

September 9, 2016

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08: Governor John Hickenlooper rappels down a skyscraper in downtown Denver. Hickenlooper rappelled down a 29-story building on the 16th Street Mall on Thursday to support the Cancer League of Colorado's Over the Edge fundraiser in Denver, Colorado on September 8, 2016. (Photo by Katie Wood/The Denver Post)

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Gov. John Hickenlooper put aside a self-professed fear of heights and rappelled from the rooftop of a downtown Denver skyscraper Thursday to help raise money for the Cancer League of Colorado.

Hickenlooper, donning an orange Broncos jersey, went “Over the Edge” of 1600 Glenarm Place, a 32-story, 384-foot tall residential tower on the 16th Street Mall.

After the descent, Hickenlooper, sweaty and smiling, said he was relieved to be back on solid ground.

“I wouldn’t say I was the fastest guy down the skyscraper, but I’d like to say I had some ballet moves up there,” he said.

At the start, just off the rooftop, Hickenlooper executed tiny shuffles, his feet seemingly attached to the white facade. After a couple of stories the governor found a rhythm, and picked up the pace, as he glided down the side of the building. Toward the end of his rappel, Hickenlooper, a couple of floors above a third-story deck that’s the finish point, did a 360-degree slow spin. The governor’s eyes were closed during long segments of the descent.

“It is so intensely counter intuitive” to go over the side of the roof, Hickenlooper said. “I tried to stay steady until I did my twist at the end.”

Knowing that his participation would help fund cancer research and patient services helped Hickenlooper to muster the courage.

“It is fear, but it’s just a fraction of the fear someone who is fighting cancer faces,” he said.

Courtney Mizel, a cancer survivor, raised $31,000, an individual high amount for this year’s event. She was influential in securing Hickenlooper’s commitment and the pair rappelled the building on side-by-side ropes at the same time.

On the third-floor deck, at the end, they embraced, exchanged high fives and released shouts of joy.

The Over the Edge fundraiser continues through the weekend. About 200 rappellers will raise about $350,000 for the Cancer League.