What goal does Wings for Life pursue?
Our goal is very clear: We want to find a cure for paraplegia. To do so, we collaborate with the smartest neuroscientists and promote promising research projects around the globe.
Why does the healing process take so long?
Spinal cord injuries are very complex: millions of nerve fibres are destroyed and constantly regressing. In order to repair this, you first have to remove the cell debris, in other words, clear the “crash site”. After that, you have to promote the regeneration, and above all, ensure a successful connection of the nerve fibres. As with electric wires, an insulating layer around each nerve fibre has to be formed. Added to that come numerous further processes. A very difficult task. But we are finally able to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
How many projects have been supported so far?
Since the launch in 2004, we supported 170 research projects and clinical studies. Each project is supported for at least three years.
How do you decide, which project you support, or not?
We have an entire catalogue of criteria and an elaborate method of selection for that. The deciding factor however is, that the respective research projects bring us one step closer to find a cure.
Where do we find more information about those projects?
All research projects are described in detail and open to the public on our homepage www.wingsforlife.com.
How much does such a project cost?
Basic research, meaning laboratory work, is funded with a maximum of 100,000 Euros per year. Clinical studies are substantially more complex and can therefore cost up to several million Euros.
Why is the participation at the Wings for Life World Run so valuable?
The more donations we receive, the more research projects can be supported financially. 100% of the entry fees and donations from the Wings for Life World Run go directly to research. That’s possible thanks to the company Red Bull that bears the entirety of the costs of the event.
This year, you will run in Vienna. Did you train for the run?
To be honest, I didn’t train as often as I would have liked to. But the good thing with this run is that everybody can participate, regardless of how many kilometres each individual can run. I count on good vibes, which will definitely help me to run the extra mile before the finish line catches me.
What do you hope for this year’s Wings for Life World Run?
I hope that as many participants as possible are having fun and enjoy the spirit of the Wings for Life World Run. And, of course, I hope for many donations for spinal cord research.