Johnny Thunderbird Flies

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Anthony O'Reilly

Johnny Thunderbird begins his descent, a trip that would last 470 feet.

Jersey City— Despite the challenge of a windy and rainy day,  Johnny Thunderbird, along with several other celebrities and VIP’s, successfully rappelled down a 470 foot building for an event that raised more than $250,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Over the Edge, the name of the fundraiser, is an annual event held in different cities across the country by the ACS to help raise awareness and donations for cancer research. According to Division Director of Coaches vs. Cancer, Anthony Marino, this was the first year Over the Edge took place in this location.

Marino, in an interview with The Torch, said he was glad that the University was continuing their partnership with Coaches vs. Cancer in new and exciting ways.

“St. John’s has been such a great supporter of coaches vs. cancer and the American Cancer Society,” he said.

“We spoke with Mark Fratto (Director of Athletic Communications) and he said ‘What about having Johnny Thunderbird go down’ and we thought that would be something fun and unique.”

Johnny joined celebrities such as Greg T. from the “Elvis Duran and Morning Show”, FDNY Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, Tina Cervasio from the MSG Network and Rutger’s men’s basketball coach Mike Rice for the stunt.

After a delay due to heavy rain and wind, the participants were equipped with full rappelling gear and sent to the roof of the building where they received a quick training session, learning the mechanics of rappelling.

Those who would be rappelling down the building, as well as all media going up on the roof, were required to sign a waiver before going up.

After roughly ten minutes of slowly rappelling down the building, Johnny successfully made it to the ground where he celebrated his accomplishment by dancing for the crowd gathered at the bottom.

Marino said he was happy that so many people braved the elements of nature and took part in Over the Edge.

“Despite the weather, they’re committed in saying ‘hey we’re going to do this because the fight against cancer isn’t easy.’”