2004: The early beginnings

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Wings for Life is turning 10. We take a look back at what happened since we were founded. Here's 2004.

In June 2004
... exactly one year after Hannes Kinigadner’s tragic accident, his father Heinz Kinigadner together with Dietrich Mateschitz decided to found Wings for Life. The mission of the charity was clearly defined: Find a cure for spinal cord injury.

The team
... consisted of three people at the beginning: Prof. Dr. Dr. Jan Schwab (Scientific Director), Rudolf Theierl (CEO) and Dr. Vieri Failli (Scientific Coordinator).

120.000 Air Miles
... is the amount accumulated by Jan and Vieri after they flew around the world to find out more about the state of scientific knowledge and new experimental therapies. Unfortunately, most “promising” therapies didn’t show any benefit for the patients. Even worse: Some of the projects didn’t adhere to scientific standards of clinical studies and patients had to pay for these unproven treatments.

Based on these insights
... it was decided that Wings for Life would only support projects, which have passed a rigorous peer-review system. Research projects qualify for funding if they are assessed as high quality by independent experts and have benefits for the patients in the middle-term.  

Many roads
… lead to Rome. This is particularly true for spinal cord research. Until today, Wings for Life supports all different areas in spinal cord research instead of focusing on one specific part (e.g. nerve regeneration) only.

Transnational Research
... was also regarded as very important. The strategy right from the beginning was to fund research projects around the globe to support the best scientists in the field.  

On December 16th  
...  we received our first-ever donation. The company Zooom from Fuschl (Austria) is still one of our most dedicated supporters.

57.200 Euros
... were raised during our first year.