© David Robinson

Our look back on 2015

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2015 was our biggest year so far. Our team grew in lots of ways. With your amazing support we raised 7.5 Million euros. And in spinal cord research we’ve made a big step forward. As we look to 2016 here are our 2015 highlights:

Anita Gerhardter, CEO
A very emotional moment in 2015 for me was the day when my colleague Wolfgang came to the office for the very first time without his caregiver. Wolfgang suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of 22 which left him paralysed from his shoulders downwards. Since the ability to use his arms and hands is limited, Wolfi needs round-the-clock assistance. Three years ago he got a modified car which he can drive on his own. He always used to drive to the office in company of his cargiver. A couple of months ago all of a sudden Wolfi turned up all by himself. I can only imagine how much courage it must have taken him to make this the trip on his own – with no back-up at all. …but he did it! He overcame his doubts and uncertainties and regained a little piece of freedom and self-government – something ultimately every person affected by spinal cord injury strives to achieve. Our goal at Wings for Life is to give them just that!

 (Stefan Voitl)
© Stefan Voitl
Stefanie Spreitzer, Communications
This was my first year at Wings for Life. To talk to people with spinal cord injury about their lives before and after their accident, was very emotional each time. My highlight was when I met the former pro-windsurfer Baptiste Gossein. The French man fell of his surfboard as he had done many times before, but on this occasion, his fall left him paralysed. When he met us in Salzburg he told me how much he misses feeling the warm sand between his toes. After our interview, we watched some of his home video’s of him surfing – the sadness in his eyes is still with me.
Rebecca Holt, Event Management UK
The TriHard challenge has been my highlight. Working with Dominik, Marcus and Anthony, getting to know them better and working with them from the very start was fantastic. Through from the early planning to developing it into the full challenge and the fundraising campaign; seeing their confidence in themselves and their ability grow, together with their strength as a team and their fundraising increase was brilliant; we are all very proud of them and I am to have been a part of it.
 (Olaf Pignataro )
© Olaf Pignataro
Rosi Lederer, Scientific Coordinator
One of my highlights in the scientific area of our foundation was the implementation of a new support program, the so called ATP. This funding format should support scientists with promising approaches to take the step at the barrier to become a clinic study. Therefore the support from experts is needed. In front of this background I´m pleased when we recieve comments from scientists who recieve our grants such as: “Wings for Life is an important foundation and makes a great job.”
 (Stefan Weiß)
© Stefan Weiß
Elisa Krimbacher, Event Marketing
There are many highlights; loads of people supported Wings for Life this year. Amazing Events, inspiring initiatives and creative fundraising ideas. It is not possible to pick out one, as they were all just WOW. Working with people, who are passionate in supporting our cause makes me proud. It was a real pleasure working with them all.

Peter Luckeneder, Finance Management
I had my personal Wings for Life Highlight at the Wings for Life World Run in St. Pölten. Normally I´m absolutely not a passionate runner but the special and emotional atmosphere elated and impressed me. Next year I will start again and run for those who can´t.

Marco Gröbner, Marketing and Communication
2015 was exciting and successful.  My highlight from the year was our visit to the intensive care unit at St. Georges Hospital in London. Together with my collogue Steffi I was there to investigate for our new magazine for donors. Even if I know many people concerned – to get in contact with spinal cord injured patients and their relatives who all live their darkest hours touched me deeply. But it also was joyful for us to see how far the working scientists are on their way finding the perfect treatment. That motivates me. 2016 can go on like this.
 (Richie Hopson)
© Richie Hopson

Nikki Wilson,
Head of Wings for Life UK
My highlight from 2016 was our supporter celebration event. The team created a wonderful event and it was full with people who care about our cause. Our supporter Laurie Squirrell bravely shared her story for the very first time and reminded us all that hope can be such a powerful thing. 'Every morning I try and wriggle my toes' she said, 'I know they don't move but the hope they never goes away'. It's a privilege to work for Laurie and the thousands of others affected by spinal injury around the world.
 (David Robinson)
© David Robinson
Verena May, Scientific Coordinator
When I visit scientific meetings I often meet scientists which I talk about their work. Recently I talked to some Wings for Life funded scientists. They all acknowledged the importance of funding their projects and thereby every single donation. Some projects wouldn´t get started without the support of Wings for Life and you. That makes me proud.

Agnes Jeschko, Team Assistant
One request touched me very deeply this year. Parents of a young man contacted me. At the age of 22 he jumped into the water and hurt his spinal cord. His story was described with a lot of detail and plucked at my heartstrings. All of us at Wings for Life work with all of our heart to help him and all the other people affected.

Wolfgang Illek, Project Management
My highlight in the year 2015 was working with a project-team in a school in lower Austria/Waidhofen. Four students put their main focus on SCI and organised a workshop and a presentation to raise awareness for people with a spinal cord injury. In addition to this they started a fundraising event and donated to Wings for Life.

Anna Lidster-Woolf,
Event Management UK

A group of friends and I took part in the Wings for Life World Run at Silverstone in 2015. It was an incredible day filled with excitement and enthusiasm. This was the first occasion I had come into contact with Wings for Life as a charity and witnessed the work that they do. Meetings Ambassadors and friends of the charity and hearing their stories inspired me. All participants felt passionate and dedicated to the cause which made the event an honour to be a part of. After an inspiring introductionI am proud to now be a full time member of the team.

Hannah Bostock, Partnerships Manager UK
2015 has been a great year for Wings for Life UK and our corporate partner relationships. We have welcomed a number of new and great supporters to our portfolio. From welcoming gym enthusiasts at The Fitting Rooms to data delivery network Fluidata to name but a few... We've brought our Wings for Life story to as many people as possible and are so proud to have such focused and committed partners behind us. I can't wait to see what 2016 brings.

Thank you so much for all your help and support this year! We wish you happy holidays, a lucky new year and we are looking forward to an exciting 2016.