Iain Johnson, CEO, becomes a Patron for Wings for Life
We are pleased to announce that our CEO, Iain Johnson, has become a Patron for Wings for Life. Wings for Life is a not-for-profit spinal cord research foundation, their mission is to find a cure for spinal cord injury. Iain will support UK CEO, Emma Hind, on her vision for the charity which is doing amazing research and development into this sector with the mantra ‘science is hope’ The brand and advisers hope to challenge the status quo, but not at the expense of excellence. We champion new possibilities and are not daunted by failures and obstacles.
He is joined by Christian Horner, David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Sean Rose, Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal, Marc Coma, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Ed Jackson, Alex Albon and Sam Bloom. To name a few personalities from the worlds of culture, economy and sport who give their time to support Wings for Life.
The driving forces behind Wings for Life are the two-time motocross world champion Heinz Kinigadner and the former founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz.
In 2003 Kinigadner’s son, Hannes, had a tragic accident which left him tetraplegic. After Hannes’ injury, Kinigadner and Mateschitz invited leading scientists from across the world to come to Salzburg. It soon became clear that, contrary to common opinion, there is legitimate reason to believe that traumatic spinal cord injury could be cured. Ground-breaking discoveries made by Prof. Dr. Sam David in 1981 and by Prof. Dr. Martin Schwab in the early 1990s showed that injured nerve cells in the spinal cord are capable of regeneration after specific types of treatment. Kinigadner and Mateschitz soon realised that despite the discoveries of a decade prior, research into spinal cord injury remained grossly underfunded and progress was stunted. Paralysis is not considered a ‘widespread condition’ by pharmaceuticals and governments therefore investing millions in research to help a relatively small number of people is, essentially, an unprofitable endeavour. This realisation prompted Kinigadner and Mateschitz to set up the Wings for Life spinal research foundation in 2004 with the sole goal of finding ways to cure all people affected.
Why Wings for Life?
- The only sci medical research foundation with a dedicated clinical translational programme (ATP)
- The only research foundation where 100% of donations fund research, not overheads
- A truly global funding portfolio, covering all areas of research and treatment
- Stringent peer reviewed application process
- Internationally renowned Scientific Advisory Board
What Wings for life does
1. Basic & Preclinical research
A spinal cord injury interferes with a complex system–the central nervous system. To find treatments it is essential to understand the basic biology of the disease processes and discover the building blocks for new therapeutic interventions.
2. Clinical Studies
Those therapies or drugs that prove highly promising in basic and preclinical research must be tested in a clinical study to understand how well they can be tolerated and how effective they are in humans with a spinal cord injury.
Scientific communication plays an important role in the advancement of research. Wings for life organises international conferences every year to bring together leaders in research and medicine. The foundation also ensures that the scientists we fund publish the conclusions of their projects. These research findings appear in renowned journals which prevents replication of the same studies across the globe.
They have achieved the following:
- 18 Years of funding research
- 64 ongoing research projects
- 65m+ Euros raised
- 259 projects funded to date
Finding a cure is not a matter of if it is possible, but when it will happen.
Historically, both cancer and HIV we reproable death sentences, even as recently as the 1980s.Today, testicular cancer is 98% curable and HIV is a condition classed as a “manageable illness”. Both these medical advances were only made possible through scientific research. Curing spinal cord injury is one of the last few riddles that remain, but Wings for Life are a small charity with a big ambition.
Every eight hours someone in the UK sustains a spinal cord injury and most become wheelchair users as a result. It can affect any one at any time, and the impact lasts a lifetime. At Wings for Life, they believe in a different future where people affected by spinal cord injury have a set of treatment options available to them. They fund the world’s most promising scientific research and clinical trials around the globe, aimed at finding a cure for spinal cord injury. Since Wings for Life was first founded, several vital break throughs have been made and there is now real and legitimate hope spinal cord injury can be cured in our lifetime.
They operate in a saturated market, competing with prevalent causes such as cancer, child poverty and heart disease and as a result scientific research into curing spinal cord injury is desperately underfunded. Thanks to the resilient nature of humankind, most people manage to adapt their lives around their injury, but the cost can be huge. Not just to the national health service, but also to every individual affected, as well as their loved ones. After an injury most people live through months if not years of rehabilitative therapy, living in hospital spinal units. On discharge, many are reliant on full-time live-in carers. In the UK, there are numerous ‘support’ charities out there, who provide practical assistance after an injury but very few dedicated to finding a cure. In order to maximise their impact, Wings for Life promise that 100% of every £1 donation we receive goes directly into top class research.
Iain is honoured to be included in supporting such an incredible cause and looks forward to developing his relationship with Wings for Life.
Learn more about Wings For Life here