Press Release

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Hosts 13th Annual SkyRise Chicago, World’s Tallest Indoor Stair-Climbing Event

Posted By Megan Washburn


CHICAGO — Nov. 3, 2021 — On Sunday, Nov. 7, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) and Skydeck Chicago will host the 13th annual SkyRise Chicago at Willis Tower. This year’s event will include both in-person participation in the world’s tallest indoor stair-climbing event, as well as a virtual option for participants running, stepping and cycling in their communities in support of the top-ranked rehabilitation research hospital.

During the event, hundreds of participants — including current and former patients and their families, friends, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab staff, researchers and clinical teams — will climb up to the 103rd floor. At the top, from the Willis Tower’s newly transformed Skydeck Chicago, participants will have the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary views spanning four states and up to 50 miles. 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. 

Among this year’s participants is Chase Olson, a husband, father of two young children and firefighter who, in the summer of 2020, fell more than 25 feet when performing house maintenance. Chase sustained a traumatic brain injury and, after spending time in the ICU, shifted his focused to rehabilitation and meeting his two biggest goals: getting back to being an active dad, and getting back to the job. Over the next several months, he engaged in intensive inpatient and outpatient therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Now, just over a year later, he has met both goals and continues to hit new milestones, including climbing the Willis Tower Nov. 7.

“SkyRise Chicago is an inspiring event where hundreds of people come together to support patients and celebrate their victories,” said Peggy Kirk, RN, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab president and CEO. “We’re excited to be back in person this year, and to have a front row seat as many patient participants accomplish feats they once thought unimaginable.”

All funds raised from SkyRise Chicago support 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 raise millions of dollars in support of patients’ recoveries every year.

“The Willis Tower and Skydeck are honored to host SkyRise Chicago and support Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for the thirteenth year in a row,” said Randy Stancik, general manager, Skydeck Chicago. “This year, we’re excited for participants to enjoy our transformed Skydeck experience and new interactive museum, which were unveiled this past spring after an extensive redevelopment.”

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 up to 1.7 million visitors annually. At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend 4.3 feet from the Skydeck, offering an unparalleled view of the city. The complete transformation at Skydeck Chicago encompasses the attraction’s lower level, delivering an interactive experience that celebrates the unique personality, history, neighborhoods and sites of Chicago.

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 Shirley Ryan AbilityLab


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 has 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. For more information, go to

About Skydeck Chicago and The Ledge


Skydeck Chicago is the breathtaking, thrilling observatory destination atop the iconic Willis Tower. The highest observation deck in the United States, Skydeck provides views of the city spanning up to four states and 50 miles on a clear day. Recently named a World's Top Ten Attraction, Skydeck features The Ledge, four glass floor balconies extending 4.3 feet from Willis Tower and made of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit. After undergoing an extensive transformation in 2021, Skydeck offers a one-stop, Chicago-themed experience, highlighting the rich history, culture, cuisine and architecture of the city. For more information, please visit or follow us on social media at @skydeckchicago.

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