Brendan James performing at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Spark!


Better Makers: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Brings the Patient Experience to Life at Spark!

Posted By Emily Stone



Advancing human ability, from a traumatic brain injury to battling multiple sclerosis (MS), the world-class Shirley Ryan AbilityLab continues to reimagine what it means to be a rehabilitation hospital.

As the first “translational” research hospital — ranked No. 1 in adult specialty by U.S. News and World Report since 1991 — Shirley Ryan AbilityLab unites clinicians, scientists, innovators, and technologists with patients 24/7 to continuously work toward new medical approaches and scientific findings.

The nonprofit rehabilitation research hospital is committed to treating all patients, regardless of financial status.

The institution held its annual signature event, Spark!, on May 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Drawing 450 guests, the immersive evening brought attendees inside the patient experience with the ballroom transformed by 360-degree views of screens.

Guests dined while being digitally transported to the downtown facility, getting a glimpse inside the hospital, hearing inspiring patient stories, and getting a behind-the-scenes look at groundbreaking research.

Spark! 2019 raised a record-breaking $3.3 million in support of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s continued advancements in clinical care and research.

Singer-songwriter Brendan James closed the evening with a moving performance of his hit song, “Nothing for Granted.”

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