Rick Hansen is a Canadian legend. After a tragic accident left him paralyzed when he was fifteen years old, Rick dedicated his life to inspiring others, raising awareness of spinal cord injuries, and fundraising. Twenty-five years ago, he set out on his “Man in Motion” tour across 34 countries and 4 continents. In his wheel-chair, he’d travel over 40,000 kilometers and raising over $26 million dollars toward research. He lead a movement to help make the world more accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities. Since that day, his foundation has raised over $200 million dollars to benefit those with disabilities, as well as to fund cutting-edge research. He has plans to do a “Man in Motion Relay” this August, in which he’ll travel another 12,000 kilometers while accompanied by thousands of runners.
It was an honor, as a Canadian, to have Rick Hansen bring in the Olympic torch to Vancouver, and, as a Calgarian, it is an honor to have him lead the Stampede Parade this July. He has been visiting schools in the Calgary area, as part of the media announcement of his selection. What an inspirational figure to have for Calgary’s youth! The Stampede has, in the past, picked some silly choices for the Parade leaders, but this year they got it right. Rick Hansen personifies what is good about the Canadian identity: compassion, determination, resolve, and community-spirit.
For more information about Rick Hansen and the Man in Motion Relay, visit the website of the Rick Hansen Foundation, here.
Photo from the Rick Hansen Foundation Wesbite, http://www.rickhansen.com/upload/images/Archive/australiabirdsville.jpg