Olympian Lolo Jones joins forces with Red Bull for the Wings for Life race on May 4, which will see runners setting off at 35 different locations around the world at the exact same time.
With starting lines ranging from Auckland to Barcelona and Cape Town to Kerry in Ireland, the epic fundraising event has three U.S. hubs: Denver, Colo., Sunrise, Fla., and Santa Clarita, Calif., where runners will hit the road at 3 a.m. PT/6 a.m. ET.
Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player who suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a tackle in October 2010, is also an ambassador for the charity event, and will be cheering on his team and interviewing the runners.
“The money raised is going to spinal cord research, it is going to benefit so many people when we do find a cure for paralysis,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “They [Red Bull] reached out to my foundation to help — we are all aiming towards one goal and we want everyone to have the chance to get up and walk again.”
LeGrand fractured his C3 and C4 cervical vertebrae and was paralyzed from the neck down when he was hit during a game against Army that was being aired live from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and was initially not even able to breathe on his own.
As for his own long road to recovery, “I am always working hard to get better, I just keep my head focused on the task at hand. You don’t ever get used to it [being paralyzed] but you learn to live with it,” he said.
Despite being given a zero to 5 percent chance of ever walking again, LeGrand said: “I truly believe that one day I will walk again — I am waiting for that great Cinderella ending.”
The former defensive tackle graduated from Rutgers in January and is focusing on his broadcast career on Rutgers radio, while working with Red Bull on future events.
While she had a lucky recovery, track and field star Jones recently had her own spinal scare. “I underwent surgery to repair a tethered spinal cord in my back, an injury that had the potential to end my career as a professional athlete,” said the Olympian and ASICS spokesperson. “Supporting this event is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.”
For more on the Wings for Life World Run, click here.