Ashton Combdon and Hayley Bye-Pace, both 15, will rappel down Victoria’s 15-storey CIBC building next week as part of Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Ashton Combdon and Hayley Bye-Pace, both 15, will rappel down Victoria’s 15-storey CIBC building next week as part of Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan teens conquer fears for Make-A-Wish

Ashton Combdon and Hayley Bye-Pace will take part in Rope for Hope next Thursday

Some people go to great heights to raise money for a good cause.

Cowichan Valley teenagers Ashton Combdon and Hayley Bye-Pace are kind of doing the opposite of that.

Combdon and Bye-Pace, both 15, will be rappelling down the 15-storey CIBC building in Victoria on May 24 as part of the Make-A-Wish Rope for Hope.

A former Wish Kid himself, Combdon has remained involved with Make-A-Wish Canada.

“They asked if I wanted to partake in it, and it sounded like a cool experience,” he said.

Combdon has a rare dysmotility, as well as a condition that made his brain believe there were obstructions in his bowel that weren’t there. That caused him to lose his bowel, and he went into gastric failure for two years after that. Combdon has had 50 procedures and surgeries, but that hasn’t prevented him from becoming a competitive athlete with the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club. This spring, he wrestled at both the provincial and national championships.

“It’s truly amazing he is able to wrestle and be active now, when there was a period we didn’t know if he would see 10,” his mom Michelle said.

“I have high and low days,” Ashton said. “But overall my health is pretty phenomenal. It’s better than the doctors thought it would be.”

Combdon became a Wish Kid at the age of 10, and he was given the opportunity to meet anyone, go anywhere, or do anything. He picked a trip to Florida.

“Since then I’ve actively been part of the program,” he explained. “They’ve taken a liking to me.”

Bye-Pace, a teammate of Combdon’s with the wrestling club and a gold-medallist in Greco-Roman at the recent national championships, laughingly explained that she volunteered to take part, “since I’m such a good friend.”

Paying tribute to the sport that has done so much for them, Combdon and Bye-Pace will be sporting their CVWC singlets as they rappel down the side of the building.

“[Wrestling] changed my life tremendously,” Combdon said.

Dubbing themselves “Team Dream Big,” Combdon and Bye-Pace are trying to raise $3,000 for Make-A-Wish. Donations can be made at makeawish.ca/event/make-wishr-rope-hope-victoria, and the team is also selling chocolates at Lee’s Chicken in Duncan.

As many challenges as Combdon has already overcome, he has one more to tackle next week: both he and Bye-Pace admit to being afraid of heights.

“I’m just gonna go for it,” Bye-Pace said. “Just jump in.”

“My strategy is to not think,” Combdon added. “Just do it.”