Skyrise Chicago 2017
“You can do whatever you put your mind to” they said.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that quote throughout my life and on November 5th it was certainly put to the test. That morning was a battle between mental and physical strength. I participated in SkyRise Chicago 2017 where you commit to climbing 103 flights of stairs (yes, 103 FLIGHTS) at Willis Tower (often referred to as The Sears Tower) as a fundraising event that benefits Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. The Shirley Ryan Ability Lab is a research hospital and rehabilitation center that provides physical therapy and other services for those with various conditions such as stroke recovery, brain injury, limb loss etc.
First and foremost, I just want to thank my Lord and Savior for allowing to climb 2,109 steps. I love doing charitable events but climbing the tallest building in Chicago is the definition of a challenge. In theory it doesn’t sound terrible because the cause overshadows it, but after I ran up the 1st six flights of stairs I realized I had made a terrible decision. All of the wind had escaped my body and when I heard the cheering squad say, “You can do this, only 97 to go” I wanted to quit. By the time I reached flight 35 I felt like I had nothing left so I began to re-evaluate my life, current and past relationships and even my salvation. I am so thankful my husband was with me because I attempted to quit several times but he kept me going, along with a couple of ladies doing The Wobble in the stairwell.
Once I passed the halfway mark, I stopped for another water break (there were several) and I noticed some of the patients climbing those same steps without complaining; some even encouraged me. I thought to myself if they can do it, surely I can. I was motivated by their strength and endurance. Even with their physical impairments, they pushed all the way to the top; some even passed me up, so I couldn’t quit.
I began to think of my friend Mari, who is a patient, and how strong she is. She is such an inspiration and an encouragement to not give in to life’s obstacles. Her determination to walk again is so magnetic. Every day she proves that you really can do whatever you put your mind to.
Skyrise Chicago is no small feat. It is a great accomplishment and a metaphor for life. Surround yourself with people that you will cheer you on. When you feel like giving up, they will push you. When you doubt yourself, they will uplift you. When you feel like you’re at your breaking point, they will stand with you.