Hundreds climb 105 floors in Willis Tower to raise money for Chicago Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Chicago fundraiser will go toward supporting nonprofit's mission of helping adults, children recover from severe injuries

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Sunday, November 7, 2021
Hundreds climb Willis Tower for good cause
The Chicago nonprofit helps adults and children recover from severe injuries.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds climbed the stairs of the Willis Tower Sunday morning to raise money for a good cause.

It's all part of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab's annual Skyrise Chicago event.

The nonprofit helps adults and children recover from severe injuries.

And those who participated Sunday in the 13th annual event climbed 105 floors.

Laura Ferrio, senior VP for the Shirley AbilityLab, said they wanted to raise $1 million.

"It's absolutely amazing," she said.

Patients, staff, teams and corporate sponsorships climbed Sunday, Ferrio said.

RELATED: ABC7's Liz Nagy rappels down Hyatt Regency Chicago for Make-A-Wish fundraiser

"It's really wonderful. I passed a lot of likely former patients on the stairs, and it brought back the memories of when I was working hard in therapy myself," Lauren Henderson said.

Henderson spent years recovering from a neurological condition, and Sunday she climbed 105 floors on her own.

"It was something that I didn't know if it would ever be possible. So it feels really rewarding to kind of see all the therapy and hard work pay off and do this year after year," she said.

Patient Greta Pearl survived a car crash in 2019 and participated in the event.

"Last time we had this in 2019, I was the giving the medals, now I'm the one actually receiving the medal, so I'm really excited for that," Pearl said.

Others took on the climb to support the cause, feeling a sense of inspiration from their peers.

"As I was climbing the stairs, there was a woman. You could tell she was a former patient. She was climbing with a cane essentially, going one step at a time, and, like, it was just super inspirational to see someone like that also completing this event," Michele Stone said.

Stone said she also wanted to embrace the challenge.