skyrise 2017

Press Release

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to Host Tenth Annual SkyRise Chicago


On Sunday, Nov. 4, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) will host SkyRise Chicago at Willis Tower for the tenth consecutive year.

Approximately 2,000 participants — including current and former patients and their families, friends, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab staff, researchers and clinical teams — will climb 105 floors. At the top, from the Willis Tower’s Skydeck Chicago, participants will have the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary views extending 50 miles and four states away. To accommodate participants with differing abilities, entrants can choose to climb the stairs or hand cycle on stationary machines that are calibrated for resistance and time to match the stair-climbing experience. 

Save the Date

04 Nov 2018

1:00PM - 6:00PM Willis Tower

SkyRise Chicago 2018


Among this year’s participants is Brody Roybal, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist in sled hockey and a Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Blackhawks player. Brody was born without femurs in his legs and will take the Willis Tower by hand — climbing 2,149 stairs using his upper body, arms and hands.

SkyRise Chicago presents a unique opportunity to celebrate and applaud our patients’ victories and, importantly, their ability

Joanne C. Smith, M.D.


SkyRise Chicago 2018 will also welcome Jason Kechik. Just over a year ago, Jason lost his ability to move most of his extremities due to complications after a heart transplant.

“The hardest part was not being able to move my arms so that I could feel my new heart beat,” he said. “I was an inpatient during SkyRise last year and remember telling my team that I would make the climb in 2018.”

Following months of intensive rehabilitation at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Jason will climb together with the clinical care team that helped him get where he is today.

“SkyRise Chicago presents a unique opportunity to celebrate and applaud our patients’ victories and, importantly, their ability,” said Joanne C. Smith, M.D., Shirley Ryan AbilityLab president and CEO. “The event serves as a wonderful showcase for the outcomes made possible when science and care come together for the benefit of our patients.”

We’re looking forward to hosting this incredible event for another year, supporting the great work of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

Randy Stancik, general manager, Skydeck Chicago


All funds raised from SkyRise Chicago support the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s quality clinical care and cutting-edge research that advance ability for more than 50,000 adults and children around the world every year. As a non-profit organization, the hospital’s work is supported by fundraising events such as SkyRise, which raised more than $1 million last year alone.


“For a decade, the Willis Tower has served as a dramatic backdrop for thousands of participants demonstrating all that is possible,” said Randy Stancik, general manager, Skydeck Chicago. “We’re looking forward to hosting this incredible event for another year, supporting the great work of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.”

One of the tallest buildings in the Western Hemisphere, Willis Tower opened in 1973 and has hosted SkyRise since the event’s inaugural year, 2009. Skydeck Chicago, located on the skyscraper’s 103rd floor, attracts more than 1.7 million visitors annually. At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.

For more information about SkyRise Chicago, visit the event’s website or find the event on Facebook. For more information about Skydeck Chicago, visit the website.


About the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), is the global leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions — from traumatic brain and spinal cord injury to stroke, amputation and cancer-related impairment. The organization expands and accelerates leadership in the field that began at RIC in 1953. The quality of its care and research have led to the designation of “No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. Upon opening in March 2017, the $550 million, 1.2-million-square-foot Shirley Ryan AbilityLab became the first-ever “translational” research hospital in which clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists work together in the same space, surrounding patients, discovering new approaches and applying (or “translating”) research real time. This unique model enables patients to have 24/7 access to the brightest minds, the latest research and the best opportunity for recovery. Recent honors for the organization include a Chicago Innovation Award and the Modern Healthcare Design Gold Award. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, go to


Media Inquiries:

Molly Summa
Sikich Public Relations

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