Keeping it going

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Julia Macchietto from Austria was paralysed after a severe car accident in 1999. Julia competed in the 2015 Wings for Life World Run in Munich and is all signed up for the 2016 run.

Julia from Salzburg will head for the Austrian capital on May 8: “This year I’ve chosen to take part in the Wings for Life World Run in Vienna”. She’s really excited about the route, after checking out online the track which starts at the gates of Schönbrunn Palace, passes through Hadikgasse and heads out of the city towards Hütteldorfer Brücke. “The course looks great. When I think back to the 2015 event, I feel a huge anticipation for the next Wings for Life World Run”, Julia smiles.
In the car accident in May 1999, the hairdresser injured her spinal cord at the twelfth thoracic level. “I can’t remember anything, I just remember that I didn’t have my seatbelt on.” Sixteen years have gone by since Julia was diagnosed with incomplete paraplegia and, through rehab, began fighting back to regain her life. “I’m not one to give up, and I’m determined to take part in sports again.”

Premiere in Munich
Supported by her sister and her good friend, Julia took part in Munich’s Wings for Life Word Run in May 2015.
“The weather was against us on the day; it was rainy and quite cold. My friends were incredibly motivating and kept me in good spirits. The atmosphere was brilliant, with everybody laughing and encouraging one another.” While Julia’s friends were caught by the Catcher Car after 7km, Julia “carried on, a number of kind runners gave me a push when they could see me struggling, and spectators were standing on every corner, cheering everyone on”. Not until the 11km mark did the Catcher Car overtake Julia: “It’s such a special event that not even the weather could hold you back.”

Round Two in Vienna
Motivated by her experience in Munich, Julia will start the race in Vienna this year with Team Lungau, an eight-person team, behind her. They are aiming for the 11km mark again, keeping in mind that the run is less about performance and more about the good cause behind it. For Julia, Wings for Life holds a special place in her heart: “There’s a lot going on within their research, which offers injured people hope, the hope that one day, they will be on their feet again.”

Julia finds it hard to imagine how it would feel to walk again. “It’s a long road ahead, but I am turning my life around and am hopeful. When my boyfriend, Markus, leaves for his annual ski tour, it makes me think one day I want to join him.”

Run for those who can’t and help us in finding a cure for spinal cord injury. Sign up to run alongside Julia in Vienna, or be a part of the Wings for Life World Run in any of the 34 locations worldwide.