New York mesothelioma attorney Jessica Russell of Belluck & Fox, LLP took the plunge in September in the first-ever “Over the Edge” rappel for cancer event in Jersey City, New Jersey, to raise funds for mesothelioma research. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the event, where participants rappelled nearly 500 feet down the side of a 34-story high-rise, raised over $271,000 for cancer research. The American Cancer Society has announced that this year’s event website is still active, and it is not too late to donate to the cause.
Although Russell, an attorney at Belluck & Fox, LLP who focuses on the firm’s asbestos and mesothelioma cases, was first alerted about the event as a joke from her husband who knew she was “dreadfully” afraid of heights, she took on the challenge after she thought of all of her clients “whose lives were cut short due to a disease that was completely avoidable.”
Pleural mesothelioma, a pulmonary cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos, is aggressive and requires equally aggressive treatments to combat the disease. Nearly 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. Currently, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, but researchers continue to conduct studies and clinical trials to find a new, effective treatment.
Buoyed by this year’s success, the American Cancer Society is reaching out to this year’s rappellers to repeat their daredevil stunt next year. Using the teaser, “if you have friends who are jealous of you and want to participate next year (or if you want to do it again!), please encourage them to sign up,” the organizers hope to surpass this year’s fundraising efforts.
Once may have been enough for Russell. “While I do not see myself signing up to jump off of any more buildings any time soon, I did appreciate that this event was unique in that it was more of a personal challenge, which drove me to appreciate what we were all working toward,” said Russell.
See the initial article on Russell’s adventure.