The inaugural Will to Win Classic (W2W), in aid of spinal cord research, was held in 1984. The initial five year commitment, thanks to the monies raised by our participants and sponsors, provided the opening for a group of research scientists to acquire matching funds. In 1987 this led to the establishment of the Spinal Cord Research Centre (SCRC) at the Bannatyne Campus of the University of Manitoba.
Through these 33 years your participation has created the opportunity for the SCRC to enlarge its research endeavours. Many “Will to Win Scholars” have been attracted to work at the SCRC with the backing of the dollars amassed by the tournament. 2017 will be the year of the completion of Kristine Cowley’s “Gifted Professorship” which with your support was established in the Rady School of Medicine at the U of M in 2012.
We are thrilled to announce the progress on our latest five year commitment. With the past commitment of our major sponsors and the latest pledge from our Premiere sponsor, W2W generated funds have allowed the SCRC to obtain matching funding which will enable the creation of a new human spinal cord research laboratory within the SCRC. Under the leadership of Drs. Kristine Cowley and Katinka Stecina, both past W2W Scholars, this 2017 expansion will take the research provided by the SCRC to another level. The SCRC has a worldwide reputation for study of spinal cord regeneration at the cellular level. The proposed human research lab will marry this basic science research with the study of how neurons within the human spinal cord contribute to movement and improved function after spinal cord injury. The ultimate goal is to develop new training strategies that can be used when people are going through rehabilitation so they can regain more function after injury.
Looking to the future, this year we have established a new partnership with Research Manitoba to award the first W2W Ph.D. studentship. This financial award is a critical component for the training of the next generation of spinal cord scientists. With your support, we plan to expand this program and fund a second studentship
Without your involvement throughout these years none of this could possibly have been accomplished. As in the 1980’s, the W2W funds are the “seed money’ for exciting advances in our endeavours to aid spinal cord research at the SCRC.
Thank you, once again. We hope 2016 is as successful as the past 32 years.
The Will to Win Committee