FROM FORMULA 1 PILOT TO AMBASSADOR OF A VISION
246 races, 535 points, 62 podiums and 13 wins - this is David Coulthard's Formula 1 career inimpressive figures. The Scotsman is dedicating his last ever Formula One race, his 246th, thiscoming weekend in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to a special vision: making spinal paralysis curable. Withhis Formula One car exclusively branded with Wings for Life, the driver will say goodbye and atthe same time 'thank you' in a very personal way on Sunday, 2 November, 2008.
"I was lucky more than once in my career when I walked away from crashes", says David Coulthard, one of the most experienced Formula One pilots, who will bring his Formula One racing driver career to an end this weekend. He has decided to dedicate his last race to an important charity, Wings for Life, a nonprofit foundation which is devoted to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.
It is hoped that David Coulthard's final race will attract worldwide attention for the subject of paraplegia and increase awareness of the ever-present risk of receiving a spinal cord injury, as paraplegia can affect anyone. Coulthard's decision to run his car in the Wings for Life branding will help raise funds for spinal cord research. "I want to express how grateful I am that I have the ability to walk and run. I know that many aren't as lucky as me", he says. One situation where David walked away was from his plane crash in 2000, when he suffered only with bruising and was able to compete in a Grand Prix just a few days later.
During the exciting minutes of an F1 race, elsewhere many people are meeting with their fate. Every four minutes someone suffers a severe spinal cord injury somewhere in the world. Worldwide, more than 2.7 million people are wheelchair-bound after a traffic accident or a fall and every year this number increases by 130,000.
"I dedicate my last race to the vision of making paraplegia curable", says the Scotsman as he prepares to start his last Formula One race after a F1 career that has spanned 15 years.
"In Formula One success is determined by a few seconds, in medicine people think in terms of years. But in both disciplines, ambition and commitment are crucial factors that are needed in order to reach the finishing line as soon as possible. Wings for Life helps to accelerate the breakthrough in spinal cord research".
"David Coulthard has been supporting us greatly in the past, with several projects such as the Faces for Charity Action at the British Grand Prix in 2007", says Heinz Kinigadner, co-founder of Wings for Life, who appreciates his prominent support. "He will make waves and increase worldwide awareness for Wings for Life with his car at the race. Furthermore, David is appointed as an ambassador for Wings for Life".
The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation supports the most promising research projects to promote regeneration of the damaged spinal cord and is officially approved as nonprofit charity organization - therefore, Wings for Life is dependant on donations which are invested entirely into research projects.