Washington (CNN) - Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) will make a triumphant return to the Senate Thursday, following a year's recuperation from a stroke.
The senator's office said Kirk, 53, plans to climb up the steps of the Capitol building– a new milestone for a man who participated in intensive walking studies as part of his physical therapy.
Kirk had to re-learn how to walk after suffering a severe stroke to the right side of his brain in January of 2012. In a July update on his progress, Kirk said during therapy he "walked an average of 3,677 steps per day, a total of 14.79 miles over ground and on the treadmill, and up 145 flights of stairs."
Vice President Joe Biden planned to greet Kirk at the base of the Capitol steps, and top senators including Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also planned to attend the arrival.
Physicians and researchers from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital will join Kirk Thursday to discuss the experimental treatment he underwent as part of his recovery.
In 2010 Kirk, then a congressman, was elected to fill President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.
In winning, Kirk bested Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the state's treasurer who had strong support from Obama. The seat had been vacated by Democrat Roland Burris after he was embroiled in scandal surrounding his appointment by then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill Obama's seat.
– CNN's Ted Barrett and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.