August 28, 2023

Braving the heights in support of Manitobans with disabilities

Community support

On August 22, Barbie and Ken took to the skies and rappelled 272 feet down the side of Winnipeg’s Manitoba Hydro Place.

Although cameras were rolling, this wasn’t the set of the next Barbie movie. Once again, Drop Zone was back!

This adrenaline-filled, annual event raises funds for Manitoba Possible. The non-profit organization works to enhance the well-being of Manitobans with disabilities, which aligns with Manitoba Blue Cross’s own focus of supporting the health and wellness of ALL Manitobans.

"The mission of creating an inclusive and accessible society that eliminates barriers to full and equal participation is certainly a cause we can all stand behind,” said Luke Johnston, vice president and chief risk officer for Manitoba Blue Cross, who dressed up as Ken for the occasion. “I met several people at the event who were personally impacted by the positive work of Manitoba Possible.

“I’m not super scared of heights, but standing on the ledge of the Hydro building was a bit scary,” he said. “To get through it, I just didn’t look down the entire time! I was very happy when I got to the bottom."

The event was also a hit for Barbie – also known as Diane Sparrow Degrave, director of people and corporate services for Manitoba Blue Cross.

“What an amazing opportunity and experience!” she said. “The actual rappelling aspect was the main focus of the day, which was so much fun, but there were so many other aspects beyond the rappelling that made the day amazing. I met a 90-year-old woman who rappelled earlier in the day. I met another individual who explained she was there watching, as she planned to rappel in her wheelchair next year and she wanted to prepare herself for the experience. She is going to love it! And everyone wanted to take pictures with Barbie and Ken, which just brought a smile to my face.”

The morning of the event, almost $85,000 of the $100,000 goal had been raised. Thanks to funding from donors like Manitoba Blue Cross, Manitoba Possible offers programs for people with disabilities to support independence building, recreation and service navigation, employment preparation, cultural services and more.

“Eliminating barriers in our communities for everyone is so important, and that’s what Manitoba Possible strives to achieve,” said Sparrow Degrave. “Our community is only stronger when everyone has an opportunity to contribute and participate in it.”

For more information about the event, visit the Drop Zone website.

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