By Eden Panozzo | @EdenPanozzo
The Wings for Life World Run returned to Adelaide this year, with 260 participants and over $4,000 raised in donations so far.
The Wings for Life World Run is a global charity run which donates 100 per cent of its proceeds to spinal cord research.
With multiple events over the world, every participant starts at the same time—no matter their local time—and continues until the ‘Catcher Car’ reaches them and knocks them out.
Unlike traditional races, the Wings for Life event is designed for people to achieve their personal best regardless of their fitness level.
UniSA student and face of the Adelaide event, Cody Gray, achieved an impressive 10.5 kilometres, beating her record from last year’s event.
This year’s event was not only a great success for the public but holds special importance to Ms Gray and her community.
Ms Gray broke her neck in a skiing accident on her family’s annual holiday in 2014 and was left a quadriplegic.
Currently studying a double degree in Business Marketing and Tourism and Event Management, as well as coaching touch football, Ms Gray has not let her accident slow her down.
She discovered the Wings for Life World Run when she heard about the major Melbourne event on the news in 2016.
“At that stage the Wings for Life World Run was only established in Melbourne but I said if it ever came to Adelaide, I would want to be involved,” Ms Gray said.
The following year she was approached to be one of SA’s ambassadors for the Adelaide event.
“My role as an ambassador includes being the face of the Adelaide event, as well as promoting the Wings for Life to the South Australian community, driving registrations and collecting donations,” Ms Gray said.
There is currently no cure for a spinal cord injury and Ms Gray said the Wings for Life event raises crucial funding for research.
“Seeing my friends and family, as well as other people I don’t know come and support this cause is really special because I feel like there is not a lot of general knowledge surrounding spinal injuries and we’re trying to change that,” Cody said.
“No two spinal cord injuries are ever the same… you can’t compare the recovery levels – there’s no guarantee you will recover any movement back.
“It’s more complicated than it seems and that’s why charities like the Wings for Life are so important to raise awareness and money for research.”
Donations are still being accepted until the end of May; you can donate here.
After her accident, Courage for Cody was created as a way to communicate with her friends and family across Australia.
“It was an easy way for anyone to send messages of support after my injury,” Ms Gray said.
“From there we kept updating it with my progress in rehab and built quite a following to the point where strangers on the street knew who I was.”
You can follow Cody’s inspiring story on the website and Facebook page.
Image Courtesy: Courage for Cody