Fear gripped Gary Tasman as he surveyed the landscape far below. He transferred his weight from his feet on a platform edge to the rope preventing him from plummeting during two previous rappels.

“It takes a little bit mentally to do that,” said Tasman, honorary chairman of the Heights Foundation’s Over the Edge fundraiser in October. He is CEO and principal broker of Cushman and Wakefield in Fort Myers. “You have to trust the people you’re working with and the equipment.”

Tasman first rappelled as a 14-year-old at camp in Kentucky, his home state. He’s rappelled twice more “many years later” for Miami and Naples fundraisers, also organized by Over the Edge, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

He’ll do it again from the 18th floor of the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs on Oct. 23. Organizers hope to raise $100,000 for the Heights Center’s School Success program for at risk children in the Harlem Heights neighborhood of Fort Myers.

“It’s a great feeling of accomplishment,” he said about rappelling. “It’s just winning; a great feeling of winning.”


The first 80 people who raise $1,200 will join him to abseil the tower, harnessed and dangling from a rope. Five had already reserved their spaces two months before the event. Other options include a “Toss Your Boss” — employees can raise $1,500 to send their bosses over the edge of the Hyatt balcony.

“Over The Edge gives participants the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community in exchange for the experience of a lifetime,” said Kathryn Kelly, president and CEO of The Heights Foundation. “The poverty rate for children in Harlem Heights is more than twice the county average. The goal of our School Success program is to ensure our kids have the necessary support and tools to succeed in school.”

Over the Edge organizes the event, provides the equipment and training for the participants, and meets all legal and insurance requirements. More than 25,000 people across North America have rappelled for various charities, raising more than $33 million, the organization reports.

It’s 135 feet from Hyat