10 Years After Being Paralyzed, Niagara Man Set To Run Wings For Life In Niagara Falls

Niagara, Ontario-native Kevin Rempel to join more than 1,000 others in Niagara Falls venue of global spinal cord injury fundraiser

News from the organizers of Wings for Life World Run

Posted April 20th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – For Kevin Rempel, competing in this year’s Wings for Life World Run is a story of spinal cord injury coming full circle.

The unique running event will be held on Sunday May 8 in Niagara Falls and 35 other cities around the world.

Kevin Rempel in action

Kevin Rempel in action

More than 100,000 runners will take part globally in an event that in its first two years raised more than $5.5 million for spinal cord research through the Wings for Life Foundation.

Rempel, a 33-year-old who grew up in Vineland, is able to compete this year because of the advancements in spinal cord injury research. Ten years ago, in July 2006, Rempel suffered a terrible motocross crash and was left an incomplete paraplegic.

As Rempel writes in his soon-to-be-released autobiography, it took a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, but he is now able to walk again.

“Without the advances in technology and surgery, I would not have been able to recover the way that I have,” he says. “I’m extremely grateful and thankful. The Wings for Life run will always help put things back into perspective of how lucky I am that I was able to recover.”

Rempel’s post-injury path led him to sledge hockey. He was part of the Canadian team that won a world championship in 2013 and a bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi. He had to miss last year’s Wings for Life event in Niagara Falls because he was competing in the Sledge Hockey World Championships in nearby Buffalo.

Though he can walk again, Rempel can’t run, so his goal in the Wings for Life event will simply be to walk as fast as he can, for as long as he can before the catcher car passes him. He’ll also be trying to push past good

friend Paul Plewa, a Stoney Creek man who also suffered a spinal cord injury on a dirtbike. Now retired from hockey, Rempel is a motivational speaker who uses his dramatic life story to help others.

“I have the opportunity to show what’s possible and inspire others to overcome their own challenges,” he says. “Despite having injuries or setbacks, you don’t have to live there. You can turn an obstacle into an opportunity and live a fulfilling life no matter what those circumstances are.”


From ultra-marathoners to weekend warriors to first-time runners looking to accomplish their first 5km, the

Wings for Life World Run is truly an event for any level of runner.

With no set finish line, runners can enter the race with their own distance goals in mind, whether it be 5km or 50km – it’s all about personal performance.

The unique race format means that for each participant, the run doesn’t end until being passed by the ‘Catcher Car’. The cars, synched by GPS at each location around the world, begin pursuit 30 minutes after runners start off the line. Travelling at 15km/h and increasing speed in predetermined increments, the result means that only one male and one female runner will be left running somewhere in the world.


  • Here is a quick look at some of the key facts and figures from the 2015 Wings for Life World Run around the world.
  • Total Runners Global: 101,280 (that’s the equivalent to the entire population of Micronesia)
  • Total Runners Niagara Falls: 750
  • Total KM’s Run Global: 1,059,529 (that’s 2.7 times the average distance to the moon)
  • Longest Distance Run Global: 79.9km by Lemawork Ketama
  • Longest Distance Run in Canada: 65km by Blaine Penny
  • Total Money Raised Global: $5.5 million CND (4.2 million Euro)
  • Total Money Raise in Canada: $45,000 approx.


It is estimated that 3,000,000 people worldwide are living with a spinal cord injury. Every year 130,000 more sustain a spinal cord injury, followed by paralysis – the main cause being traffic accidents.

In Canada, there are over 86,000 people living with spinal cord injury with 51% as a result of traumatic injury. Each year, it is estimated that there are 4,300 new cases across the country.

The advances in research are largely based on private initiatives. Being a non-profit organisation, Wings for Life relies on support and donations to help fund this research. Wings for Life is set up to ensure that 100% of all donations it receives are used exclusively for promising research projects.


For the latest information on the Wings for Life World Run, follow along at:

Web: www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com ,

Twitter: @WFLWorldRun / @RedBullCanada

Instagram: @WFLWorldRun / @RedBullCanada

#WingsForLife #WorldRun #NiagaraFalls


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Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.



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