Clarendon Hills resident enjoys adventure, helping others
Clarendon Hills resident Stephen Saka starts his way down a Chicago building during the Sept. 8 Skyline Plunge! Chicago, a fundraising event for the Respiratory Health Association. | Photo courtesy of Respiratory Health Association
Name: Stephen Saka
Favorite superhero: Captain America
Hobby: playing golf
Favorite food: sushi
Activity on bucket list: bungee jumping
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:10AM
CLARENDON HILLS — Stephen Saka has always been a bit of an adventurer.
The 41-year-old Clarendon Hills resident already had rock climbing, skydiving and rappelling on his resume. Recently, he took on another challenge.
Saka was among more than 50 participants who stepped over the edge of a Chicago hotel, 278 feet above State and Lake streets, to be a part of Skyline Plunge! Chicago.
Hosted by Respiratory Health Association, the event raised more than $67,000 for the association’s local lung disease research and programs.
I saw an ad for the event,” Saka said. “I rock climb, and this was for a good cause, so I decided to get involved. I had never done anything like this before.”
Saka has three children, ages 11, 6 and 18 months. He works for the Public Works Department in Downers Grove.
He experienced a few different emotions from the time right before he started his way down the building until he had made it to the ground.
“I thought it was great; it was quite a thrill,” he said. “Stepping over the edge was the most hair-raising moment, but then you get going and the adrenalin settles. About halfway down, I became calmer and really enjoyed it. The view was incredible.”
Saka said the setting for Skyline Plunge! Chicago made the experience very different than rock climbing and skydiving.
“It’s really different being on the side of building,” he said. “I told my friends before I did it that I would be like Spiderman.
“Another thing that made this very different is having to trust someone else getting the gear I used ready. I get my own gear ready when I go rock climbing. This was almost life putting your life in someone else’s hands.”
Saka said he decided right as his rappel down the building had finished that he wanted to do it again. And he plans to do so May 5, 2013 when Respiratory Health Association hosts another Skyline Plunge! Chicago.
“It feels good to be able to help someone else,” he said. “I believe we’re obligated to help our fellow man somehow. I really enjoyed doing this, and it is for a great cause.”
To register, donate or learn more about Skyline Plunge! Chicago, go to www.lungchicago.org/skyline-plunge.