Three reasons why Crystal Ramsay is ‘Down for the Challenge’

Jun 23, 2021

Few people love the sport of rappelling more than Crystal Ramsay. 

“It’s like flying,” the 41-year-old said. 

Not surprisingly, Crystal was one of the first people to sign up for The Salvation Army’s Down for the Challenge rappelling event at Mall of America, after hearing about it on TV. The Sept. 18 event will allow up to 368 people to rappel down a 14-story building.  

Crystal signed up to rappel for three main reasons. 

Reason 1: The thrill of it 

Crystal has loved to rappel ever since she first tried it as a little girl, at a summer camp. 

“At camp we learned climbing and did some obstacle courses, but the rappelling is what I couldn’t get enough of,” said Crystal, a South Minneapolis resident who works as an office manager at a machine shop.  

Crystal last rappelled about eight years ago during a zip line tour in Alaska. 

“All the other guests sat on the edge and held on for dear life, but I was so excited I just stood up and jumped,” Crystal said. 

Although she has rappelled more than most people, she has yet to rappel down the side of a building. 

“I really want to know what 14 stories to Earth feels like,” Crystal said.

Reason 2: Help people in need

All proceeds from Down for the Challenge support Salvation Army housing and homelessness-prevention programs in the Twin Cities, both of which are causes Crystal cares about deeply.

“I’ve seen the effects of homelessness on my family, friends, and neighbors,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking and unnecessary for anyone to go to sleep cold, hungry or without shelter.”

The Salvation Army operates 25 housing facilities in Minnesota, providing emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing for thousands of people every year. 

“I look forward to seeing the grand total this campaign raises and I hope it has a measurable, positive impact,” said Crystal, who has previously raised money for many other causes, such as HIV and AIDS awareness, diabetes research, and a summer camp for LGBTQ youth. 

“I am proud to be working with my fellow Minnesotans to take action for others effectively,” Crystal added.

Reason 3: Her mom

Rappelling is a way for Crystal to make her mom proud. Throughout Crystal’s life, her mother inspired her to be brave and take risks.

Sadly, Crystal’s mother suffered a stroke recently and is no longer able to speak. However, the setback has not broken their bond.    

“I spend a lot of time with (my mom) and tell her about everything in my life,” Crystal said. “When I told her about jumping off the Mall of America, she looked worried. I told her, ‘Mommy, I’m gonna fly!’ She smiled and reminded me again how she’s always supported me and encouraged me to take chances like this.”

Fundraising for Down for the Challenge opened a week ago, and already Crystal has raised the $1,000 minimum needed to rappel. 

“It is fun having conversations about this opportunity with people,” Crystal said. “They tell me they'd never do it, or they say I'm brave. 

“I'm not brave. I just like a rush!”

Are you Down for the Challenge? Be among hundreds of people to rappel down a 14-story building at Mall of America, with chances to win awesome prizes. All proceeds fund local Salvation Army housing and homelessness-prevention programs. Learn more or register at

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