Rebecca Shackelford and Carlos Gato rappelled down the side of the JW Marriott Marquis Miami after their wedding atop the building Friday. They are among hundreds of South Floridians rappeling 19 stories at the hotel in the Miami Children’s Initiative's “Over the Edge” fundraiser on Friday and Saturday. Participants Charles and Colleen Auslander and Robert Covahlo spoke about the event.
A just-married bride slowly rappelled down the side of a downtown Miami hotel after her wedding atop the building Friday, stopping at times so a photographer could take pictures of her as she made the descent.
Rebecca Shackelford sped up along the bottom portion of the building and reached the ground just before 6:40 p.m.
Her husband, Carlos Gato, made his way down the JW Marriott Marquis Miami at a much faster clip.
He said beforehand, "I think that after this we can get through anything, because I was so impressed that when I asked her, I originally thought that she was going to put up a little bit of a fight for me, saying, ‘No, no, I don’t want to do that.’ But it was immediately ‘Yes, yes, that’s a great idea. So I’m like, that’s awesome.”
The couple, the winners of a social media contest tied to the Miami Children’s Initiative “Over the Edge” fundraiser, are among hundreds of South Floridians rappelling 19 stories down the hotel at 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way on Friday and Saturday.
The wedding was scheduled for 5 p.m. on the hotel’s 19th-floor pool deck, publicist Julia Wakefield said. It ran late, however.
“And then after the wedding is over, the couple will exchange a kiss and then rappel down,” she said.
The couple, who won the “Wed Over the Edge” contest, were greeted by friends and family on the ground.
It's not the first time Gato and Shackelford's love story has made the news, as they got engaged in a flash mob at IKEA.
This is the second year the rappelling fundraiser has been held for the Miami Children’s Initiative, a nonprofit group that works to improve Liberty City and break the cycle of poverty “by investing in the potential of every child.”
“Based on the success of our first ‘Over the Edge’ event last year, we are receiving tremendous interest in this year’s event and we expect to have an even higher turnout,” said Cecilia Gutierrez-Abety, the organization’s managing director, in a news release. “It is inspiring to see so many South Floridians ready to literally go ‘over the edge’ for Liberty City’s children – truly a testament to the importance of our mission.”
Participants were required to raise at least $1,500 for the chance to come down the side of the skyscraper.
"I'd like to say that I was thinking about child welfare, but I was thinking about my own welfare to be honest. And my wife's welfare. It’s a little crazy,” said Charles Auslander, the CEO of The Children’s Trust.
Said his wife Colleen: "I was looking down seeing how many of these do I have to go."
One of the community leaders set to rappel was Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho, who was due to make his descent after the wedding.
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