National Treasure #63: Rick Hansen

Already a world-renowned wheelchair athlete, this British Columbian fulfilled a dream of wheeling around the world to make others aware of the potential of the disabled and to raise funds for spinal cord research among other things. His 44,000 km. journey, recently completed, took him to four continents and 33 countries, inspiring people around the world to realize their potential and raising many millions of dollars for the cause. – Order of Canada citation, 1987 Jun 29

Well, the Companion of the Order of Canada is one of Rick Hansen’s honours. There are 32 more athletic and citizenship awards, including 14 honourary PhDs. He’s had 4 elementary schools named after him.

When he was thrown out of the back of a pickup truck, did the 15-year-old lying paralyzed in that hospital bed think that he would do all this with his life?


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2 Responses to National Treasure #63: Rick Hansen

  1. Alison says:

    He’s one of my favourite “heros”. Not because of his disability, but just because he’s a good guy, who has done good things. During the “Man in Motion” tour I took my kids to the roadside near Red Deer very early one morning to wait for, and then cheer on Rick as he wheeled past. Karen had drawn a picture for him (of him in a wheelchair) and was able to give it to his staff as he went by . She later received a lovely Thank You card from him, that’s the kind of guy he is. Both kids still remember that day, and I thank you for letting me recall the day as well..

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – Thanks for sharing a personal encounter and memory. Nice to know that in addition to being extraordinary in some dimensions, he’s a guy who can do gracious things for kidlets.

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