WEAU's Danielle Wagner participates in rappelling fundraiser for local dyslexia center

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Community members went to new heights this weekend in support of a local nonprofit.

WEAU's Danielle Wagner was one of the people who participated.

Helmet, gloves, and harness - those are the tools needed to go over the edge in support of a local nonprofit.

"Something people will talk about for days, weeks, and months to come," said Dr. Tammy Tillotson.

Dr. Tillotson, the Director of the Children's Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin, was the first in line to rappel down Banbury Place in Eau Claire for the Read, Write, and Rappel Over the Edge for Dyslexia fundraiser.

"How better to get people talking about dyslexia and overcoming their fears and their challenges and that is a direct correlation with everything that our kids face with dyslexia," she said.

Evening anchor Danielle Wagner also accepted the challenge, putting back into practice some skills she learned as a child when her dad taught her how to rappel.

To being, some training just a couple feet off the ground. That included getting comfortable in the harness, understanding the safety measures in place, and practicing the motions.

Then it was time to line up for the main event as 21 people put their fears aside and went over the edge.

"The first step is always the hardest, but once you get over that first step, the rest was really fun and relaxing," said Dr. Tillotson.

Once the ropes are in place, you sit in place and capture the moment and the view with a professional photo.

Then it's go time, approximately 100 feet off the ground, Danielle's rappelling journey down Banbury Place was underway in support of the Children's Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin.

"As much as 20 percent of the population is impacted by dyslexia, which equates to about one in five people," said Tillotson.

Tillotson says the Eau Claire center serves 45 children who struggle with reading, writing and spelling.

Twice a week, the children receive one-on-one tutoring for free.
Tillotson says the rappelling event raised approximately $25,000, which will support operations at the center.

Back on the wall, Danielle locked in on the task at hand, slowly releasing the rope and walking down Banbury Place.

In a matter of minutes, her descent is complete.

While this is an event people will talk about, hopefully it will also start a conversation about dyslexia and the local help available to those who need it.

Tillotson says the hope is to grow the Over the Edge event in the future. Up to 100 people can participate in the event.

The dyslexia center is also growing. A new campus just opened in Superior, and plans are in the works to open another campus in Wausau.