U.S. Senator Mark Kirk talked with NBC 5 Mary Ann Ahern about achieving his goal to climb 37 flights of stairs in Willis Tower and his plans for getting back to Washington D.C. Ahern reports for NBC News at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.
Mark Kirk will return to the Senate on the first day of the new Congress, nearly one year after suffering a stroke, Ward Room confirmed.
"Senator Kirk said publicly he intends to return in January," Kirk's staff said in a statement. "He remains on track to be back when the Senate convenes on Jan. 3rd for the 113th Congress."
From the first videos he released of his progress, Kirk has said he wants to climb the steps of the Senate upon his return and already has completed some 37 floors of the Willis Tower as practice.
Jan. 3 will be his day, surrounded by close friends and family in Washington, D.C., to witness his return. An occupational therapist will accompany Kirk, at least in his initial return.
“I hope this gives a message to people across Illinois that may face stroke,” Kirk said last month during his first post-stroke interview at the Rehab Institute of Chicago’s Stair Climb at Willis Tower.
It’s been 11 months since Kirk suffered the devastating stroke that left many wondering if he would be able to recover. It took hours of tough rehab to get where Kirk is today, which has been documented in several videos Kirk released to the public as updates on his progress.
When asked about his motivation, Kirk said challenges like the Willis Tower stair climb him going and in good spirits.
“In fact, I was befriending people who had big staircases,” Kirk joked at the time.