Posted on 02 May 2012 by Keith Lacey
Rick Hansen became a household name and national icon when he travelled around the world in his wheelchair during his renowned Man in Motion world tour 25 years ago.
Canadians are being asked to honour Hansen and continue his good work for spinal cord research and citizens in Osoyoos can join in the celebration. Sarah Dynneson, recreation programmer for the Town of Osoyoos, said a community celebration will be held on Tuesday, May 8 at the Sonora Community Centre as part of the national tour that started last August to celebrate Hansen’s Man in Motion tour a quarter century ago.
“We’re going to have local entertainment, local medal bearers taking part in the national relay and some refreshments,” said Dynneson.
Hansen remains a household name in Canada, even for young people who weren’t born when the Man in Motion tour took place. Hansen and his team of supporters travelled more than 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries over 26 months, raising awareness of the potential of people with disabilities and to raise funds for spinal cord injury research.
“It will bring back a lot of memories for people who remember his initial Man in Motion tour,” said Dynneson. “Communities across Canada are holding 25th anniversary community celebrations and we wanted to be part of it here in Osoyoos.”
The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay is re-tracing the Canadian segment of the original Man In Motion world tour. It started in Newfoundland last summer and travelling westward to British Columbia, the nine-month relay will cover 12,000 kilometres, and visit over 600 communities from coast to coast – in every province and territory. The tour wraps up in a couple of weeks in B.C.
Terry Craig said he and his family are honoured to have been selected to participate in the run, which passes through Osoyoos and Oliver next Tuesday.
Craig will be running in Oliver, while his wife Laura and two children, Haley, 13, and Trevor, 16, were selected to take part in the relay on Thursday, May 3 in Penticton.
Craig, who works in Osoyoos and does much of his training as a competitive triathlete here, said he and his family applied to participate in the Rick Hansen relay last summer and were thrilled to find out they had all been accepted in February.
“I’m excited for myself, but even more to have my wife and two kids able to participate in something like this,” said Craig. “We’re only running 250 metres, but it’s all about being part of honouring a man who became a national hero, so we’re all really looking forward to it.
“My wife is the most excited of all of us because she’s so proud of the kids and myself.”
Like Hansen, who travelled around the world in his wheelchair to raise money for spinal cord injury research, Craig knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.
When his wife was diagnosed with serious kidney problems several years ago, he discovered he was a perfect match and donated one of his kidneys to her in 2005.
His wife had a full and complete recovery, however, a rare virus resulted in her losing full kidney function in the fall of 2010 and she’s had to undergo dialysis for almost two years, while waiting for another kidney donor.
After donating his kidney, Craig went on a mission to not only try and find a new donor for his wife, but also show what kidney donors were capable of, so he started training for and competing in ultra marathons. He’s currently in training for the Penticton Ultra Marathon World Championships, set for August.
Hansen remains a national icon not only because of what he accomplished 25 years ago, but also his amazing and strong personality, said Craig.
“He has such a powerful and positive message and personality. You couldn’t help but be impressed by his enthusiasm and good nature,” he said. “He’s what I call a good old Canadian boy. He’s one of those people you admire so much just because of his great attitude about life.”
Through the Rick Hansen Foundation, more than $250 million has been raised to accelerate progress towards a cure for SCI, and a more accessible and inclusive world.