David Mzee helped launch the 2019 Wings for Life World Run on Sunday May 5 by getting up from his wheelchair to walk over the start line in the Swiss town of Zug as the annual race helps to raise funds into spinal cord injury research. Here is all you need to know:
- Mzee was paralysed in 2010, however he has since recovered the use of his upper body and partial control of his right leg after electrical stimulation.
- He was told that he would never walk again, but intensive rehabilitation in Zurich using the new type of treatment has given him hope of a different future.
- He revealed: "It was amazing. It was overwhelming. I did six minutes back in the day on the clinic smooth surface without weather and with a lot of energy. I was really pumped today. I was excited to get started especially in the beginning with all the people passing by and clapping - that was breathtaking, really cool. I did 30 minutes and I took five or six breaks. I'm glad that we did it and it was good to be here."
- The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation backed the Swiss research team led by Professors Grégoire Courtine and Jocelyne Bloch that developed STIMO (Stimulation Movement Overground), which is an implant that beams electrical pulses into the spine.
- Runners in 323 global locations began the 2019 Wings for Life World Run on Sunday May 5 from surprising snow in Italy to the sunshine of Rio de Janeiro with Mzee walking 390m himself to inspire everyone at the start in their bid to help find a cure for spinal cord injury.
Explore more Wings for Life World Run content HERE.