Fundraiser goes Over the Edge for good cause

Fundraisers rappel down 428-foot hotel

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the second year in a row, Give Kids The World Village is going extreme for a good cause.

“It's a little nerve-wracking but I'm excited,” said Olivia Nelson, an ambassador for Give Kids the World Village.

For the first time, the 21-year-old  will rappel 428 feet down the side of an Orlando hotel, as part of the Over the Edge fundraising event. 

Nelson joins dozens of supporters of the nonprofit resort in Central Florida that fulfills dream vacations for critically ill children. 

The mission of this adventure is to raise money for the organization.

News 6 wanted to show their support, so I harnessed up with my photojournalist, Justin Potter and we went over the edge—to get a little taste of what Nelson will be going through.

"I will do anything to give back to them. They changed my life and I know that they change other people's lives every day when people come to visit,” Nelson said. 

During her sophomore year of high school, Nelson’s activities took a toll on her and she started to pass out regularly.

"I was tired a lot more and I was struggling. I ran cross-country but I just wasn't improving so that's probably when it started,” Nelson rsaid of the symptoms her condition caused. At the time, she had no idea what the condition was. 

After special testing was done, the results revealed she has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, which is why she relies on a wheelchair a lot of the time.

"When you go from sitting to standing or laying to sitting to standing, your heart rate goes up and your blood pressure actually bottoms out. It drops, so that causes you to pass out,” Nelson said. 

In 2016, Nelson and her family spent a week at Give Kids the World Village and visited Disney World where she spent time with the disabilities team.

“Working with people who understand what I'm going through and helping other kids who are going through similar situations was just eye-opening that this is what I'm meant to do with my life," Nelson said.

Today, she's ambassador to the place that she says gave new meaning to her life.

"I also was able to shadow all the departments at Give Kids the World so I met with everyone and found out what they do and how they make the village so amazing,” Nelson said. “I have never had a more exciting and more impactful week in my life.”

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.