An Irish-Australian executive is set to face her fears to raise funds for young people in crisis.
General manager of the Sir David Martin Foundation Helen Connealy will rappel down 33 floors of a Sydney skyscraper for the Abseil for Youth challenge.
“It sounds like an absolutely scary, ridiculous thing to do, and it is!”
“I am not a brave person but I suppose if you look at some of the young people that we help, they have often been raised in a vulnerable scenario...I think I can suck it up,” Ms Connealy said.
The late former Governor of New South Wales David Martin established the charity almost thirty years ago to provide support and new opportunities for young Australians dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.
The annual abseil feat helps ensure rehabilitation program participants can rebuild their lives, find safe housing and engage in education or employment.
The number of young people using the Foundation’s rehabilitation services doubled last year, leaving the organisation in need of funding to cover its costs.
The Foundation is hoping to draw in a record number of participants for the event’s tenth anniversary, offering an inaugural zip-lining alternative to the abseil challenge.
After leaving Dublin for Sydney 21 years ago, Ms Connealy will abseil 135 metres down 1 Market Place, the proud home of Sydney’s Irish Consulate.
“It was coincidental...I’d love to get the Irish community behind us,” Ms Connealy said.
Ms Connealy has a long history of service in the not for profit sector, including a stint raising money for Sydney hospitals as CEO of the Kolling Foundation.
She will be in good company on 17 October, with ambassadors including celebrity trainer Steve ‘Commando’ Willis joining the descent.
Every year more than 200 young Australians attend the Foundation’s Triple Care Farm, a residential youth-specific rehabilitation centre offering withdrawal assistance and counselling.
Most participants are able to find work after graduating from the program, with less than 14% returning to chronic drug or alcohol use.