Share This Page

Downtown rappelling event spotlights drug, alcohol addiction treatment

| Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 4:25 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Ciel Disilvio, 13, of Shadyside prepares to rappel down 26 floors at the Westin, Downtown, on Tuesday morning, July 15, 2014. More than 80 people took part in the event sponsored by Shatterproof, a new national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Amy Hutchison, 48, of Whitehall, bottom, and Pam Perlow, 48, of Shadyside, top, rappel down the 26 floors at the Westin, Downtown on Tuesday morning, July 15, 2014. Over 80 people took part in the event sponsored by Shatterproof, a new national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Amy Hutchison, 48, of Whitehall, is reflected in a window as she rappels down the 26 floors at the Westin, Downtown on Tuesday morning, July 15, 2014. Over 80 people took part in the event sponsored by Shatterproof, a new national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease.

Dozens of people working to highlight efforts to treat drug and alcohol addiction rappelled Tuesday down the exterior of the 26-story Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh, a 615-room hotel that connects to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

The Connecticut-based nonprofit Shatterproof organized the event “to draw attention to the national epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction” and to raise money.

Participants wore harnesses, helmets and gloves to descend slowly along a rope anchored to the hotel's roof.

In 2012, Gary Mendell founded Shatterproof and later the Shatterproof Challenge rappelling event to urge families, legislators and others to address addiction among children and young adults. His 25-year-old son, Brian Mendell, lost his battle with addiction in 2011.

Organizers had to postpone the rappelling event originally scheduled for June 25 in Pittsburgh because city building inspectors declined to grant a permit. City officials wanted the nonprofit to conduct a load test to ensure sections of the building's structure could withstand the weight.

Shatterproof has put on similar events in California and Texas in cooperation with Over the Edge, a firm that provides rappelling and rope use expertise.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.