When Tiphany Adams powers across the start line on May 6, she’ll be celebrating how far she’s come since a life-changing spinal cord injury, and looking forward to the medical advancements that Wings for Life World Runners are helping to make possible.

“I was pronounced dead on scene.”

At 17, California’s Tiphany Adams was the sole survivor of a crash with a drunk driver that produced a horrifying impact of 210 kmh. Even when rescuers rushed her to the hospital, doctors gave her only a five percent chance of living.

“It was like a black abyss,” Adams remembers. But when she woke from a coma, she was determined to live each day to the fullest, despite no movement or feeling below her belly button. That’s one of the reasons she has participated in the Wings for Life World Run since 2015.

“Finally, there’s a foundation advocating for the cure for spinal cord injury – actually getting the research done!” Adams says excitedly. “I am honored to take part in the Wings for Life World Run, as it helps educate the world about an injury that affects thousands, if not millions, worldwide.”

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that between 250,000 and 500,000 new spinal cord injuries occur annually, and road accidents are responsible for roughly half. But scientists like the researchers funded by Wings for Life agree that the possibilities for improving everyday functions and finding a cure are growing ever stronger.

“Am I running yet? No,” Adams states. “But will I be in the future? I pray to God so.”

Now in her 30s, Adams is on a mission to inspire others, and she has been the subject of TV shows and documentary filmmakers. Overcoming misconceptions is a passion. When Adams tried to join a gym after her injury, she recalls, “It was, ‘You can’t be a member here. We don’t have ‘adaptive’ equipment.”

Adams wouldn’t take no for an answer. “I just went in, learned my ways around the gym and found out what works for me.” She ended up earning certification as a personal trainer.

Adams’ first Wings for Life World Run was in Santa Clarita, California. Blown away by the exhilarating vibe, she shocked even herself by rolling more than 13 kilometers. This time, she’ll be participating in Sunrise, Florida.

“It is always a joy bringing people together for a great cause that serves humanity,” Adams declares. “Participation in this race gives those with spinal cord injuries and their friends and families hope for an easier tomorrow!”

She concludes, “It’s surreal when everyone is coming together – there’s no other race like it! Everyone is racing at the same time across the globe, and that in itself is so beautiful.” 

There’s still time to join Tiphany Adams and the global movement at the fifth annual Wings for Life World Run on May 6. Sign up for an App Run or Event Run now!

Wings for Life
Wings for Life