On Friday, Sept. 7, Saints and Hornets Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc faced one of her fears – her fear of heights.
LeBlanc repelled down Benson Tower on Friday as a part of Special Olympics Louisiana's "Over the Edge" fundraiser. It was LeBlanc's fourth time completing the challenge and the third year it's been held at the LEED-certified Benson Tower. This year, the event raised around $50,000 for Special Olympics Louisiana's programs.
"Repelling down Benson Tower again was a lot of fun, especially when it benefits such an amazing group like Special Olympics," LeBlanc said. "This event was the first that we did when we purchased the building before it was refurbished and it's an event that has become very special to me."
During the event, local Special Olympians enjoyed music and spending time with more than 40 "Over the Edge" participants. The event also featured appearances by Saints mascots Sir Saint and Gumbo.
"I love this event because of the Special Olympians," LeBlanc said. "I think they're so inspirational and they have so many stories to tell. Right now, as they've been watching the Olympics and the Para-Olympics, they're so excited about their events and competitions. I love seeing all the familiar faces and I've loved spending time with them – especially with the twins that are here today."
Currently, over 13,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Louisiana participate in various Olympic-type sports. Presently, participants compete in 17 sports and over 30 are offered. The Project Unify program reaches out to school aged youth to break down the barriers of stereotypes. The Young Athletes Program serves ages 2-7. The competitions begin at age 8 and with no upper age limit.