Curing paraplegia

29. April 2021

Millions of people are relegated to a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury, but research gives hope.

Datasport supports the Wings for Life World Run with this contribution

Accidents that happen during daily life activities are the main cause of paraplegia. Traffic accidents and falls account for 75% of the approximately 250,000 estimated diagnoses of paraplegia annually.

What paraplegia means

Life changes completely from one second to the next. The consequences of a spinal cord injury can be varied and extensive. Depending on the severity of the injury, paraplegics can no longer move their legs or even their arms and hands. 

However, a spinal cord injury generally does not result in muscle paralysis; rather, the destruction of sensory nerve fibres causes paraplegics to lose their sense of touch, pressure, pain and temperature. Bodily functions are also affected, such as those of the bladder and bowel, as well as sexual function and blood pressure.

The consequences? Paraplegics can no longer play their favourite sport, go for a walk or hug someone they love. They don’t feel their body and many are dependent on round-the-clock care.

Hopeful prognosis

Since its founding in 2004, the charitable foundation Wings for Life has had as its objective finding a cure for paraplegia. To make this goal a reality, Wings for Life supports scientific projects and clinical studies around the world. 

To date, the foundation has financed about 211 international research projects. The scientists we support work at renowned institutes such as Harvard Medical School, Cambridge University, the University of Vienna and Charité Berlin. With each research project, a better understanding is gained of the complex topic of paraplegia and more extensive research is done on it.

There is reason for hope, because the scientific world agrees on one thing: damaged nerve cells in the central nervous system are capable of regenerating, and paraplegia will be curable one day.

Run for those who can't

To bring awareness to the topic of spinal cord injury among the general public and ensure continued cash flow for promising research, this year’s Wings for Life World Run will kick off on 9 May 2021 – at the same time for all runners across the globe.

Thanks to the app, anyone anywhere in the world can run for those who can’t, even during these challenging times. All registration fees and donations will go 100% to spinal cord research.

Whether you are a top athlete, amateur runner or rank beginner, you decide how far you will run. That’s because there is no finish line. Instead, a virtual Catcher Car will get going 30 minutes after the start of the race and will gradually overtake the runners and wheelchair racers.

More info about the Wings for Life World Run on May 9

Click here to register