The “Man in Motion” is getting some help from his friends.
Paralyzed in a car accident when he was 15, B.C.’s own Rick Hansen became the first physically disabled student to earn a degree in physical education from UBC and went on to become a world-class champion wheelchair marathoner and paralympic athlete.
His became a household name in 1985 when he set out to travel the world in his wheelchair to raise money for spinal cord research – an endeavour that also changed forever the limitations identified with the word disability.
On the 25th anniversary of that momentous effort, the Canadian route is being retraced, this time by 7,000 participants from across the country who have made their own difference in the lives of others.
“Focusing on engaging Canadians to take up the challenge and become catalysts for positive change, the relay will feature medal-bearers who will run, walk, wheel or bike and complete their segments through a variety of forms of movement for all abilities,” says the 25th Anniversary Relay website.
In every province, participants, who must be 13 or older, will pass along special Rick Hansen medals.
Medal bearers will include those who have made a difference in their communities by championing inclusivity, empowering youth, protecting the planet or promoting health.
To learn more about the medal bearers and to sign up for the chance to become one in this area, visit www.rickhansenrelay.com and apply by Friday, Nov. 18.
The relay travels through this area April 4 to 7, 2012 and will be marked by a special ceremony at Spirit Square in front of city hall on April 4.
The group of volunteers who organized local Olympic Torch celebrations in 2011 will choose three deserving medal bearers from a list of applicants provided by the national organizers of the 25th Anniversary Relay.
Six alternates will also be chosen.