Hundreds of stair climbers reach new heights for annual SkyRise Chicago at Willis Tower

Diane Pathieu Image
Monday, November 4, 2019
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Hundreds of participants laced up their sneakers to participate in the world's tallest indoor stair climb Sunday in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- About 2,000 people laced up their sneakers to reach new heights during the world's tallest indoor stair climb Sunday in Chicago.

Participants climbed up 103 floors to the top of the Willis Tower during the 11th annual SkyRise Chicago.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, which provides quality care and cutting-edge research for physical medicine and rehabilitation.

"Without this place, I don't think I'd be standing here right now," said 15-year-old Payton Lange.

Lange, who's an avid ice skater, became paralyzed after a spinal hematoma, thinking she may never walk again. But intensive rehab has helped Lange recover, much like Brett Becker who went to the AbilityLab following a skiing accident.

"This is the tower. Like, we're standing on 105 flights of stairs above the ground. Like I'm looking down on the world right now. I feel like this is getting on a natural high," Becker said.

The event, now in its 11th year, raises over a million dollars for the hospital's work.

Those who weren't able to participate in the 2019 climb can still donate to support the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab here.