Why the Brown Brothers Joined World Run 2014

This duo have turned tragedy into inspiration -- and support for spinal cord injury awareness.
By Derreck Delk

Tim and Will Brown have been active all their lives, playing a variety of sports in their New England hometown before making their way west to pursue careers in the ski and surf industries.

Tim landed his dream job on ski patrol at a Colorado resort, but In his second winter on the job, when he was clearing the mountain on February 13, 2011, an accident changed his life forever.

“I don’t remember it,” Tim, now 28, says. “No one really knows what truly happened.”

Tim’s spinal cord injury rendered him paralyzed and unable to move his legs. The always-active brothers’ lives now, three years later, are different, yet very much the same.

Watch the video (above) to hear the Brown brothers explain why they support Wings For Life World Run -- a global race dedicated to funding spinal cord injury research.

Tim is currently studying for a master’s degree at Harvard’s extension school while also working through intense exercise and mental therapy treatment. Will, now 25, works in Aspen towards becoming a professional skier, and will run the Denver Wings For Life World Run in honor of his brother on May 4.

“Spinal cord injuries happen to the people you love the most, and are extremely unpredictable in any circumstance,” Will says. “There’s no reason not to get out there and have fun running, using what you’re blessed with every day and supporting a life-changing cause.

The fact that everyone around the world is running at the same time, no matter what, is so powerful, and a good example of how we can all work together to make things happen.

“Unlike most other times when you’re racing, this time it’s really about running for those who can’t all at once. That’s a huge motivator and it will definitely increase the distance and speed at which I’m able to run.”

The global, collaborative effort of the Wings For Life World Run appealed to both Tim and Will.

“Getting everyone around the world to do something together, metaphorically, it's really powerful,” Tim says. “There are so many great things going on in spinal cord injury research and so many approaches to recovery -- whether it’s stem cell, exercise rehab, or alternative medicine approaches.

"As progress is made, people can come together, whether they are in Germany, Japan or the United States, to share information and research. The fact that everyone around the world is running at the same time, no matter what, is so powerful, and a good example of how we can all work together to make things happen.”

“In the beginning, when I was in the hospital, knowing it was really hard for me, I can only imagine what it was like for Tim,” Will says. “I decided to flip it. Tim is an inspiration every day for me and I have decided to not have any excuses or reasons to not take advantage of every opportunity. I do the best to be supportive of him and work hard with what we were given.”

Determination and believing in yourself, and believing in people around you, can change everything.

“Our relationship has grown a lot stronger,” Tim says. “It was really hard at first, and to be totally honest, to see Will do all the things he and I both love -- skiing and surfing -- it hit home for me. But we have become a lot closer and Will has always been super positive about my ability to recover. There are times Will believes in me even more than I believe in myself. “

“I have no doubt that he’ll continue to recover,” Will says. “His accident has changed my perspective on the world. Determination and believing in yourself, and believing in people around you, can change everything.”

For more information or to register, visit the official Wings For Life World Run website.

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