SkyRise Chicago, 2010
This is the second year in a row that I was the official photographer for SkyRise Chicago, the run to the top of the tallest building in North America. It is a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and begins early in the morning, just as the sun in starting to peek above the horizon.
I was assisted again this year by the always capable and helpful Joanne. She covered the ground floor activities while I photographed the participants reaching the skydeck on the 103rd floor. RIC is a great organization because the whole staff really gets involved, including the board members and major donors. President and CEO Joanne Smith does the run up the stairs, then stays to congratulate and cheer on everyone else that comes after her. This is always an emotional event, with lots of hugging and crying.
A number of patients show up to help hand out medals to everyone that completes the race. So many of the people I meet during this event have an important reason for being there; either they know someone who was treated at RIC, or they went there themselves. The girl with the glasses was one of the first volunteers on site, arriving around 6am with her father. She was also one of the last to leave.
Just like last year there were a number of firefighters that climbed the entire thing while wearing their uniform, gear, and helmet in honor of the many firefighters that died in the WTC on Sept 11th.
And for all of you that think you just can’t do something as difficult as this, I want you to think about Mark Stephan, seen below in red. He fractured his spine, can barely walk, and needs assistance standing. It took him a few hours to complete the climb, but he does it… one difficult step at a time. This was his second year reaching the top. If he can do it, you can do it.