Nearly 3,000 participants — including current and former RIC patients and their families, friends, and RIC research and clinical teams — will climb 2,109 stairs (103 floors). At the culmination of the event, they will have the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary views of the city's skyline at the Willis Tower's SkyDeck Chicago. Those participants who either can't make the climb, or prefer to use their upper-body strength, have the option to hand-cycle on stationary machines calibrated for resistance and time to match the stair-climbing experience.
Among the climbers is U.S. Air Force Officer Ryan Novack, who will participate in his first SkyRise event after breaking his spine in June and learning to walk again at RIC. Novack, 24, from Aurora, Ill., was in an off-road motorcycle accident while stationed in Guam. After diligently working for months with his dedicated team of RIC doctors, therapists and scientists, he's ready and eager to climb 103 floors of Willis Tower.
All proceeds from SkyRise Chicago support RIC'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, RIC's work is supported by fundraising events such as SkyRise Chicago, with more than $1 million raised at last year's event.
"Our patients, and their extraordinary hard work and determination, are the reason we are so passionate about SkyRise Chicago," said Joanne C. Smith, M.D., RIC president and CEO. "It's a day for the entire RIC community to come together to celebrate strengths, achievements and, importantly, Ability. This year's event will be particularly poignant as we prepare to open the doors to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the future of RIC, on March 25, 2017. Our new hospital will create a novel model of care that will lead to better, faster outcomes and even cures."
SkyRise Chicago 2016 will also welcome Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is climbing for the fifth time. Senator Kirk was an RIC patient in 2012, after experiencing a stroke. With the support of RIC doctors, therapists and researchers, he regained the ability to walk and talk in the months following the stroke.
"SkyRise Chicago creates remarkable memories for thousands of participants, and we're proud that Willis Tower, one of Chicago's most iconic buildings, is the setting for those incredible moments," said Randy Stancik, General Manager, Skydeck Chicago.
Willis Tower opened in 1973 and has hosted SkyRise since the event's inaugural year, 2009.
About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)
The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation's leading provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world. Founded in 1953, RIC has been designated the "No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab — RIC's new, state-of-the-art research hospital, will open in early 2017. For more information, go to www.ric.org.
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SOURCE Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago