In 1985, Rick Hansen pushed his wheelchair out of Vancouver, BC, and set out on a journey that would make history. His legendary Man in Motion World Tour spanned more than 40,000 km through 34 countries, took over two years to complete, and raised more than $26 million for spinal cord injury research. Rick's incredible achievement became a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of teamwork. His courage and determination inspired us to believe in the possibility of a fully accessible and inclusive society, and a cure for spinal cord injury.
Following a car crash at the age of 15, Rick sustained a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. Forced to define a new life for himself, Rick never hesitated to challenge society's perceptions about what is possible for someone like him. He was the first student with a physical disability to graduate in Physical Education from the University of British Columbia. He went on to become a world-class athlete, competing for Canada in the 1984 Para-Olympic Games and winning 19 international wheelchair marathons, including three world championships. In 1987, Rick was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and has received several honourary degrees. As a positive role model dedicated to improving the world around him, Rick has a remarkable ability to engage and motivate youth.
He regularly shares his message of hope, inspiration and the importance of making a positive difference in the lives of others with young people across Canada. Today, Rick is still a Man in Motion. As President and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, Rick remains committed to advancing spinal cord research and making communities more accessible and inclusive for people with a spinal cord injury. Through Rick's leadership, the Foundation has generated more than $178 million for spinal cord injury-related programs and initiatives. Rick lives in Richmond, BC, with his wife, Amanda, and their three daughters Emma, Alana and Rebecca. He has a passion for the outdoors and volunteers his time to support fish conservation. As Chair of both the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society and the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund, Rick is a strong voice for helping to restore and protect sturgeon and salmon populations.
Beginning on August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, the 25th Anniversary Relay will retrace the Canadian segment of the original Tour, but this time one man in motion will be represented and celebrated by many in motion; engaging 7,000 participants from across Canada who have made their own difference in the lives of others.