BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
As patients of all ages move into Chicago’s most dazzling new building on March 25, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, recognized as the world leader in rehabilitation, will officially assume its new name.
And if the walls of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab could talk, they would share the enthusiasm of the 750 guests at its March 10 opening gala who donated $8 million to insure that the lab’s revolutionary new approaches to be delivered to patients will extend far into the future.
Gala co-chairs Dr. Joanne C. Smith, President and CEO, and husband, Rory Repicky; Shirley and Pat Ryan; Lori and Board Chair Jude Reyes; Lindy and Michael Keiser; and Sheli and Burton Rosenberg, welcomed guests. These attendees were then granted a tour of the space’s six floors filled with color, views, and light—and the most cutting-edge technology.
Broadcasting on each floor were members of the RIC’s Leadership Team, welcoming guests to three separate ability labs. Clinicians, scientists, innovators, and technologists will work together across five labs, applying research in real time. Over 800,000 square feet of its total 1.2 million will be dedicated to clinical research. There are 242 patient beds in the new facility—70 more than at the RIC, with ability to increase by over 100 beds.
Members of the host committee included Marcie and Nick Alexos, Mary and Tom Bagley, Brenda Barnes, Jodi Block and Barry Malkin, Connie and David Coolidge, Renee and Lester Crown, The Crown Family, Catherine and Jim Denny, Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole, Craig Duchossois, Kim Duchossois, Dayle and Ed Fortino, Jacky and Michael Ferro, Cindy and Chris Galvin, Weezie and John Gates, Douglas Gray, Ken Griffin, Caryn and King Harris, David Kabiller, Becky and Lester Knight, Lori Komisar and Morris Silverman, Janet and Michael Krasny, James Litinsky, Karen and Stephen Malkin, Joanie and Andy McKenna, Mayari Pritzker, Anne and Chris Reyes, Hope and Tom Reynolds, Cari and Michael Sacks, Muneer Satter, Carole and Gordon Segal, Sue and Tim Sullivan, Patricia and Ronald Taylor, Tina and Byron Trott, and Cate and Rick Waddell. The committee also included The Mary and Daniel Dolan Family Foundation, The Christopher and Susan Gust Foundation, The Lavin Family Supporting Foundation, and The Pritzker Foundation.
A common thread among those in the crowd that evening—including Monika Betts, widow of the internationally revered and longtime RIC President and CEO, Dr. Henry Betts—was a longtime devotion to and appreciation of this important institution, feelings that are certain to be shared by so many more as the AbilityLab’s doors open later this month.