Today, I had the honour of representing every client I’ve ever treated and will ever treat. The 25th Anniversary Rick Hansen Relay made its way through my community, and, on behalf of the amazing therapy team at Aim2Walk, I was lucky enough to have been chosen as a Difference Maker (more on that later).
Twenty five years ago, Rick Hansen wheeled across Canada from Cape Spear, NL, to Vancouver, BC to complete his Man in Motion World Tour. That’s right, I said “World Tour”…which means prior to wheeling across Canada, Rick wheeled across 33 other countries! In total, 40,000 kilometres were covered by Rick and his team as they helped raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities AND raised $26 million, used towards Rick’s dream of creating a truly accessible and inclusive world.
Needless to say, my distance in today’s anniversary relay is not quite the extensive trek (lucky for me). In fact, it’s 0.00000625% of the distance Rick covered 25 years ago, which is why there are 7,000 of us completing the relay across Canada. As a Difference Maker, my role today was to bear the Rick Hansen Anniversary Medal over a 250 metre stretch, before passing it on to the next Difference Maker. A Difference Maker is simply defined as someone that makes a difference in his or her community. I met a lot of passionate people today, people working towards the greater good of their respective communities.
I’d like to give a special thanks to Jake Lawless, my group’s host and motivator. Jake made a positive impact on not just me, but my 4 year old daughter, whom excitedly accompanied me today (she thought she was joining her dad in one of his races). Jake noticed that my daughter, after meeting him, was staring at his wheelchair with a puzzled look. He took it upon himself to explain why he is in a wheelchair, and the impression this made on this inquisitive 4 year old lasted all day. She was excited to tell her mother about the dangers of working on a rooftop when your mother tells you not to. Thanks Jake!
My daughter and I slowly jogged our 250 metre portion of the relay, wanting to enjoy every moment of this special experience. After we reached the next Difference Maker and handed over the medal, I placed the replica medal, given to each participant, around my daughter’s neck and she whispered into my ear: “Daddy, did we win the race?” Not having the heart to tell her it wasn’t actually a race, and that everyone here is a winner today, I responded “Yes, sweetie, of course we won!”, to which she quipped “Then why is our medal not Gold?”
Rick Hansen Relay Fast Facts:
- Began August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, NL and concludes in Vancouver, BC on May 22, 2012.
- The Rick Hansen Relay recreates the original Man In Motion Cross-Canada Tour, by spanning 12,000 kilometres from coast-to-coast.
- The Relay will travel through over 600 communities, reaching more than 70% of the Canadian population.
- 7,000 Difference-Makers will be selected to run approximately 250 metres each and will collectively cover an average of 40 to 80 kilometres per day, making their way across the country, passing the Rick Hansen Medal from one Medal-Bearer to the next