April 03, 2012 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Ramonica Jones

On November 12, 2011, nearly 200 Special Olympics Texas supporters cast all their fears aside to rappel Over the Edge of the InterContinental Houston Hotel to raise money for SOTX.  One of those fearless adrenaline junkies was longtime volunteer, Amanda Walzel.  Her commitment to the cause led her to rappel, but she also went Over the Edge for another reason that is near and dear to her heart.

As most of you know, I have been a Special Olympics [Texas] Key Volunteer for 10+ years. About three years ago my father, Mike Davis, started volunteering with me. This past June, my father passed away after fighting a brief, but aggressive battle with cancer. Being a volunteer and working with Special Olympics was something he really enjoyed doing. In an effort to honor my father, I decided to go “Over the Edge" and help raise money for an organization both me and my father truly love. My dad and I were very close, and his death has been a very difficult one for me to overcome. He was only 60 years old when he passed, and had just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks prior to his passing. Needless to say, we were all shocked when we got the news, but even more shocked at how fast the cancer progressed, eventually taking my father's life. I think the worst part of it all was that he passed away 10 days before he was supposed to walk me down the aisle. Not having him there by my side on that very special day was extremely difficult. On the day of my rappel, I wore his wedding ring on a necklace around my neck and had it tucked in my shirt. It made me feel like he was going Over the Edge with me! I know that if he were still alive, he would have been right there next to me, taking the plunge as well.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about or miss my father. He was a great man and I can't wait to see him again one day!  

Amanda Walzel
SOTX Key Volunteer