Climbers Overcome Challenges To Scale Willis Tower Stairs For Charity Fundraiser

Nancy Harty
November 04, 2018 - 3:51 pm
AbilityLinks Climber Finish Line

WBBM Newsradio/Nancy Harty


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- More than 2,000 people climbed to the top of the Willis Tower Sunday to raise $1 million for the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab -- and to prove they could scale tall buildings.

Looking at Heather Kroupa after she climbed the 105 flights of stairs, you would never know what she'd been through.

Heather Kroupa AbilityLinks Climber
WBBM Newsradio/Nancy Harty

The 35-year-old Lisle woman suffered a stroke after the birth of her first child, Joshua, seven years ago.

That left her unable to talk and completely paralyzed on the right side of her body.

Kroupa said she's done the SkyRise climb five times now to show her thanks to the therapists at the AbilityLab who helped her recover.

This was the first climb up the Willis Tower for Brody Roybal of North Lake. 

He was born without legs, and has been preparing to climb more than 2,000 steps by training on the Stairmaster.

The 20-year-old climbed on his hands and was confident he would finish, because he's been staying fit by playing sled hockey with other athletes with disabilities.

Brody Roybul AbilityLinks Climber
WBBM Newsradio/Nancy Harty

Dr. Joanne C Smith, president and CEO of the AbilityLab said the climb is a chance for many of their patients to prove to themselves that they can do it while raising money for the non-profit.

She said the climb has raised $1 million so far.

People can still donate, she said.