A Joppa woman, dressed in a King Kong costume, rappelled down a 28-story building in downtown Baltimore last weekend to help raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.
It wasn’t her first time, either.
“I enjoyed going down, and I could hear the crowd,” Kim Beward, 53, said Thursday morning. “It’s unbelievable, everybody should try it at least once.”
She took part in the ninth annual Rappel for Kidney Health on Saturday, June 2. The rappelling event is a “signature event” for the National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware, according to a news release.
Participants attached to ropes walked down the facade of the Blue Ocean Realty building at 201 N. Charles St. Beward was one of three members of the Donor Girl and Friends team, led by her Joppatowne High School classmate, Lee Adams — both graduated in 1983.
Each rappeller must raise $1,000 for the foundation by June 30. Beward said she had raised $630 as of Thursday.
To donate online, visit the “Kimberly Beward" fundraising page on the National Kidney Foundation’s Team Kidney website www.kidney.org.
Last Saturday was the fourth time in five years that Beward has rappelled to support the National Kidney Foundation, and she has worn a costume each time.
“I just think it’s so cool to do in costume... people notice when it’s Spider-Man or someone like that coming down the wall,” she said.
Beward dressed as Batman for her first rappel in 2014 down the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel in Harbor East, and she was Captain America when going down the Hyatt Regency hotel in the Inner Harbor the next year.
Her daughter, Lauren Beward, now 30, did the 2015 rappel with her, dressed as comic book villain Harley Quinn.
Kim Beward wore jeans and a Pulse nightclub T-shirt in honor of the victims of the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting for her 2016 rappel, which was also down the Hyatt Regency.
She did not rappel last year, because the event was on her mother’s 90th birthday, she said.
Beward’s daughter was on the ground this year in support of her mother.
Beward said she plans to rappel next year, and her daughter plans to participate, too. Beward expects she will wear the King Kong costume again.
“What is more epic than coming off a high rise as King Kong?” she asked. “All I need is little airplanes to buzz me, and I’m all set.”
She owns a property preservation company, maintaining and servicing foreclosed properties all over Maryland. She describes herself as an “adrenaline junkie” who enjoys bungee jumping, hang gliding and whitewater rafting, “anything that gets my blood pumping.”
That factors into her desire to rappel for the Kidney Foundation.
“I can do something good and at the same time do something exciting,” Beward said.
Beward has relatives who have suffered from kidney disease.
About 30 million American adults have chronic kidney disease, and millions of others are at risk, according to the website. Diabetes and high blood pressure cause about two thirds of the cases, according to the site.
Patients can suffer kidney failure and then need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive — many kidney disease patients die of heart disease, according to the NKF website.
Kidney disease can be treated if detected early, according to the site.
Lee Adams, Beward’s team leader, donated her kidney to her brother-in-law in July 200, when he was being treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
“He’s doing great,” Adams said Wednesday. “We’re about to hit 11 years, and we’re both doing great.”
Adams has also published a book about her experience, called “Donor Girl: A Story of Living Kidney Donation.”
Her team has rappelled for the past five years. About two to four team members participate each year, and they have raised an estimated $15,000 to $18,000 in five years, she said.
Forty-five to 60 people participate in the events each year, Adams said.
Adams lives in West Virginia and is vice president of national promotions at Broken Bow Records, working to get songs by country music artists on the radio. Artists associated with the label include Jason Aldean, Craig Morgan, Dustin Lynch and Chase Rice, according to Adams.
Beward learned about Adams’ involvement with the Kidney Foundation through a post on Facebook.
“She’s had a great career and just a great heart and sense of community, so I’m proud to be on her team,” Beward said.