Woman spends nearly 24 hours on billboard for charity - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Woman spends nearly 24 hours on billboard for charity

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A James Island woman spent almost 24 hours total perched 50-feet high above Interstate 526.

Heather Butler literally took her charity, shipofsmiles.org, to new heights.

"It is definitely crazy. There is no argument there," Butler laughed. "It's feels like it's 3,000 feet high."

"It seemed like a really good idea about a month or so ago when I was planning this. I still think it's a really good idea. I just didn't realize how scared I was going to be," Butler said.

"I've had to do some serious soul searching to find the courage to stay up here," she added.

She hopes that as folks look up, it raises awareness about the Ship of Smiles and its mission.

"It's a hospital ship that will have two operating rooms on it and go to the poorest countries and offer simple but life-changing surgeries," she explained.

The ship would offer surgeries for cleft-pallet, cataracts and tumor removal. The goal is to help children who may never get a chance for the procedures.

"A lot of times they are just killed at birth or put in orphanages or they are hidden away from society which is a shame because a simple 2 or 3 hour surgery can change the entire life of these children," Butler said.

"We need $500,000 more to purchase our ship. We have the surgeons and the volunteers and the contacts in Haiti. All we need is the ship," she added.

Butler admits that it is quite nerve-racking sitting on the billboard, but she says it is well worth it.

"People have blown their horns. We've had people stop by and give donations. It gives me the encouragement. As soon as I feel that I've got to get down from there and I can't do it, someone will drive up and donate some money," she said.

To learn more about the organization or to make a donation, visit shipofsmailes.org.

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