UMPI paraplegic professor successfully rappels down 9-story building

In Media

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By Mike Dowd

University of Maine at Presque Isle professor Jacquelyn Lowman, who has been a paraplegic for 15 years, successfully rappelled down a 110-foot tall building in Worcester, MA, on Saturday to raise money for charity.

The annual fundraiser known as Over the Edge is an urban rappelling fundraising event that raises an average of $100,000 for non-profits in North America. Lowman received pledges totaling $1,050 for Canines for Disabled Kids, a 501c3 non-profit organization that brings together children with disabilities and service dogs.

“We are very excited we made it,” said Lowman, a few minutes after completing the feat. “It was an amazing experience.”

Lowman, 71, is a professor of professional communication and journalism who uses a wheelchair and is supported by a service dog named Dusty. Lowman was born with spina bifida, a congenital spinal defect that gradually worsened with age.

Lowman, who was assisted by attendants on the roof who secured her to the rappelling line, slowly descended the 9-story building located at Mercantile Center 120 Front St., in Worcester by herself. After reaching the ground she was assisted back into her wheelchair by attendants.

“We weren’t ever afraid,” said Lowman, who uses the pronoun we. “We did some spinning and thought things might not be great but we straightened out. We have a feeling we’ve done it and showed people that anything is possible.”

Canines for Disabled Kids’ goal is to increase independence for children with disabilities and their families through service dog partnerships, according to its website.