During the event, more than one thousand participants — including current and former patients and their families alongside Shirley Ryan AbilityLab staff, researchers, and clinical teams — will climb up to the 103rd floor. At the top, from the Willis Tower’s Skydeck Chicago, participants will 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 to match the stair-climbing experience. Additionally, virtual participation options are available so that participants can support the effort from any corner of the world.
Among this year’s participants are husband and wife Jason Colton and Annie Lurth. In 2018, Jason survived a brain aneurysm and resulting hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain. Through intensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, Jason describes how Shirley Ryan AbilityLab helped him get his life back, teaching him how to walk, eat and engage in everyday activities once again. Perhaps no one was more inspired by his recovery than Annie, who decided to quit her job and go back to school to become a nurse. In a full-circle moment, she recently took a nursing job in the same Shirley Ryan AbilityLab unit that years before had cared for Jason.
“In many ways, SkyRise is a powerful declaration of thanks,” said Peggy Kirk, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab president and CEO. “So many patient participants accomplish feats once thought unimaginable. It is truly a celebration — a day of gratitude and giving back.”
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s quality clinical care and cutting-edge research advance ability for more than 50,000 adults and children around the world every year. As a nonprofit organization, the hospital’s work is supported by fundraising events such as SkyRise, which collectively 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 fourteenth year in a row,” said Randy Stancik, general manager, Skydeck Chicago. “In addition to reaching new heights, participants have an opportunity to enjoy our transformed Skydeck experience, featuring a new interactive museum celebrating the unique personality, history, neighborhoods and sites of Chicago.”
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. Skydeck Chicago was completely transformed in 2021 and now provides a can’t-miss, one-stop attraction to discover and see all that the city of Chicago offers from an incomparable vantage point.
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 www.sralab.org.
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 Tripadvisor.com 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 www.theskydeck.com or follow @skydeckchicago on social media.