By Nick Sortal, Staff writer

5:14 p.m. EST, March 7, 2014

Brooke Thabit doesn't remember her first helicopter ride. That's because it was moments after the dive that left her a quadriplegic.

But Thabit, 18, took to the air a second time in February as part of her new role. As an ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run, set for May 4, Thabit was up in a helicopter again surveying the course that up to 5,000 South Floridians will traverse to raise money for spinal cord research.

"There's nothing anybody can say that can change my condition, but this is something people can do to support everybody with spinal cord injuries," says Thabit, of Boca Raton, whose mission is to bring attention to the simultaneous racing event.

Taking place in 35 venues, it will begin across the globe at 10 a.m. Universal (Greenwich) Time, or 6 a.m. at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, which joins Denver (4 a.m.) and Santa Clarita, Calif. (3 a.m.), as the only participating U.S. cities. Thirty minutes after runners take off, a "catcher car" will begin pursuing them at 10 mph. Runners are eliminated when the car catches up to them and triggers an electronic sensor on their bibs.,2708611.story