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Special Olympics Louisiana recognized as Saints charity spotlight before Bengals game

The New Orleans Saints support Special Olympics Louisiana through various events throughout the year, but their most compelling effort is their annual NOLA Over The Edge: S.W.A.T. Edition. Saints Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc would like to invite all thrill-seekers to rappel down the side of the 25-story Benson Tower on Friday, Dec. 5. All participants will be transported by helicopter to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) training session. Once all training has been completed, participants will receive a replica of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office S.W.A.T. team jacket, and then flown by helicopter back to Benson Tower.

Registration is underway now! You can give a Special Olympics Louisiana athlete the "edge" they need to succeed. Anyone can participate in this thrilling experience for a minimum of $1,000. If you are interested, visit the Special Olympics Louisiana website at, and select the Over the Edge link. You can even create a Firstgiving fundraising page, which will allow your friends, family and colleagues to "sponsor" your rappel. (Start today and get 50 friends to give you $20 dollars!)

"Special Olympics is a noble cause to support and I think this is one of the most original fundraising ideas to participate in," said Benson LeBlanc. "I have always had a passion for adventure and luckily I have rappelling experience, but anyone can try this professional program where they teach you self-empowerment through a once in a lifetime experience. I hope more people sign up for the exhilarating experience of Over the Edge and donate to Special Olympics"

Special Olympics Louisiana President and CEO Pat Carpenter Bourgeois opened up about her appreciation for the Saints' support before their game against Cincinnati on Nov. 16.

Certainly for these athletes, to be here in the Superdome, and out on the field, and then to be recognized on behalf of Special Olympics, it's something that they will remember forever. They will never forget it," Bourgeois said. "One of the things that Special Olympics does for our athletes is to give them a purpose. For many of our athletes, that's their purpose for getting up in the morning. They really love the Special Olympics - it really is the Olympics for them."

"They love participating in extra special events like this. We couldn't thank Rita Benson LeBlanc enough for what she's done for Special Olympics. She certainly supports us, she loves our athletes, she's great with them. We're just happy to be a part of the day!"

Special Olympics Louisiana (SOLA) is a state-wide not-for-profit 501©3 organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. They provide sports training and athletic competitions and transform lives through the joy of sport, everyday, everywhere. Currently, 13,847 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Louisiana participate in approximately 100 competitions. They are also a global social movement. With initiatives to activate youth, engage kids with and without intellectual disabilities, build communities and improve the health of athletes - they're changing the game for people young and old.

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