Wings for Life

Wings for Life funds world-class research and clinical trials focused on the spinal cord and is the global charity partner of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division empowers makers to innovate and create without limit. Wings for Life fund world class research and clinical trials with the goal of curing spinal cord injury, empowering those who are bound to a wheelchair or have debilitating pain and discomfort. What is more limitless than giving the gift of mobility back to those who need it most, one of the many reasons we chose them to be our Global Charity Partner.

Wings for Life came to exist thanks to two-time motocross world champion Heinz Kinigadner and Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who set up the not-for-profit organisation in 2004 following an accident which left Kinigadner’s son tetraplegic. This accident quickly made them realise how underfunded spinal cord research was, and the pair committed to an ambitious mission: to make spinal cord injury curable.

“We first became aware of Wings for Life through our partnership with Oracle Red Bull Racing,” says Natalie Tellis-James, Global Internal Communications Manager at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. “We continue to support organisations at a local level but as an international company we wanted to support a not-for-profit that could reach all of our employees, all around the world. Spinal cord issues could be something you’re born with, it could be a large-scale accident that caused it, or it could be as simple as a slip, trip or fall. It could happen to any of us, and I continue to be humbled by the number of people I speak to who have been affected by this issue in one way or another, either personally or via friends and family. Funding is essential for Wings for Life and being able to help is a privilege for each of us at Hexagon.”

The charity’s flagship event is the Wings for Life World Run, a unique annual race that is completed all over the world. Known as ‘the race where the finish line catches you’, all the locations start at the same time, whether it’s day or night, rain or shine. Half an hour after the runners have set off the ‘Catcher Car’ is released….your race ends when the car catches up with you. With 100% of the World Run entrance fee going directly to Wings for Life, the race contributes hugely to the charity’s funding.

“Hexagon actively take part in the World Run each year, our first event was in 2014 and we’ve entered a team every year since, with more sign ups each year. The beauty of the World Run is you don’t need to be a marathon runner to take part, you walk jog or run as far as you can – the only pressure is the goal you set yourself ahead of the race. I’ve had the privilege of being our Wings for Life team Captain since 2018, and although I wouldn’t describe myself as a runner, it’s an event I look forward to each year. Standing at the virtual start line, knowing I’m joined by colleagues all over the world is truly inspiring, we motivate each other before the event and share stories and pictures once we’re finished – it’s a great way to meet like-minded people that I otherwise might not get to know. Our employees pay their own entry fees for the event and then Hexagon makes an additional donation after the event on behalf of every runner in the team. Knowing we’re making a difference for people in need and helping this incredible charity with their fundraising efforts is great motivation to get the steps in. #teamHexagon run for those who can’t and I’m honoured to be one of them!”