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Man In Motion, A True Advocate
After 25 years and over $245 million raised, Canadian Rick Hansen isn't stopping in his pursuit to find a cure for spinal cord injury and to improve accessibility worldwide.
Hansen carried one of Olympic torches at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games, and marked the 25th anniversary of a two-year, 34 country "Man In Motion World Tour" that raised $26 million towards a cure. In November, Hansen set out on another two-year, four country push for cooperation in finding a cure and establishing standards for accessibility internationally. In between trips, Hansen's self-named foundation raised over $200 million.
“Now, after all this time, there’s a perfect opportunity and desire for nations around the world to start collaborating more formally and to create a global institute to accelerate progress toward a cure,” Mr. Hansen said. "We want to have five-star standards for accessibility which will be the same for New York, Vancouver, Tel Aviv, Amman, or Beijing."
He also aims to establish a global institute with a SCI registry for researchers to communicate with victims.
Hansen passes the torch at the Vancouver Olympic Games
"These are huge dreams and will likely take decades to accomplish but on a long journey it's nice to be able to stop and look back and at least celebrate the progress you've made so far. Some day we’ll get to the end of the journey, we’ll find a cure and there will be no more barriers to accessibility."
There's plenty of cause beyond the fate of SCI victims. Hansen argues the market potential of therapies and technologies along with jobs in medical research and development create the economic incentive. Potential breakthroughs will also have beneficial results in other medical research, for example, Parkinson's disease. “We’ll get there faster, we’ll be a richer and more productive nation, and ultimately we’ll be able to fulfill our values"
Rick's story from The Globe and Mail article (Full Article):
The 53-year-old hasn’t let spinal-cord injury hold him back. A native of Williams Lake, B.C., Mr. Hansen was paralyzed below the waist at age 15, riding in the back of a pickup truck that swerved off the road and crashed. He credits family and friends with helping him see that life was still worth living.
“More than that, it was a life that could be fantastic if you continued to maintain vigilance over your attitude and lived a life that you thought was important – that you valued – and expressed who you were,” Mr. Hansen says. “I loved the outdoors, I was an athlete, and I was an adventurer.” Before he became the Man in Motion, Mr. Hansen distinguished himself in athletic competition, winning 19 international wheelchair marathons and six Paralympic medals in wheelchair racing. A companion of the Order of Canada, he has three daughters with Amanda Reid, who was once his physiotherapist.Also referenced: Montreal Gazette Article