Rick Hansen, Canada’s Man in Movement, has made quite a few visits to his hometown of Williams Lake, B.C., over time, however this one will maintain particular significance.
This week, Hansen is ready to take part within the Williams Lake Stampede Parade, however considerably, he shall be revisiting for the primary time the highway the place, 50 years in the past, he was concerned within the accident that might change his life.
Hansen was simply 15 on June 27, 1973, when he and his pal Don Alder hitched a trip on the again of a pickup truck after a coastal fishing journey in Bella Coola, hoping to make it to the Williams Lake Stampede within the B.C. Inside metropolis.
The motive force misplaced management of the car and collided with a tree, ejecting each Hansen and Alder. Whereas Alder managed to stroll away from the accident, Hansen didn’t.
“[The incident] broke my again after which broken my spinal twine, and I used to be instructed within the hospital a couple of hours later that I’d by no means stroll once more,” Hansen, now 65, instructed host Shelley Joyce on CBC’s Dawn Kamloops reflecting on that fateful day.
“I by no means knew anybody with these spinal twine accidents or disabilities, and so I believed my entire life was shattered together with my backbone and all my hopes and desires gone — I couldn’t think about what life could be like.”
Nonetheless, with the assist of his household, associates and coaches, Hansen would emerge from this difficult interval in his life even stronger.
Dawn Kamloops8:37Rick Hansen returns to Williams Lake 50 years after the accident that modified his life
Man in Movement World Tour
Having been concerned in numerous sports activities earlier than the accident, his coaches inspired him to renew bodily actions whereas utilizing a wheelchair. After finishing highschool, Hansen enrolled on the College of British Columbia, changing into the primary particular person with disabilities to graduate from the varsity with a level in bodily training in 1976.
Three years later, Hansen started to earn a repute as an athlete. From 1979 to 1984, he achieved exceptional success in wheelchair marathons, incomes a complete of 15 medals, together with six on the Paralympic Video games and 9 on the Pan Am Video games.
Nonetheless, it was Hansen’s Man in Movement World Tour that made him a family identify. Over the course of greater than two years, he wheeled 40,000 kilometres by way of 34 international locations, elevating consciousness of individuals with disabilities and inspiring the creation of extra accessible and inclusive environments.
The journey began at Vancouver’s Oakridge Mall in March 1985 and ended at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium in Might 1987.
WATCH | Rick Hansen celebrates twenty fifth anniversary of the conclusion of his Man in Movement World Tour:
Alder, who accompanied Hansen on his two-year international journey, lately launched a music titled Gained’t Be Residence, impressed by Hansen’s once-in-a-lifetime journey.
“The music was buried for a very long time, however once I got here again to it, it simply introduced up numerous feelings as a result of there have been numerous robust miles on the highway,” he instructed host Margaret Gallagher on CBC’s North by Northwest.
WATCH | Don Alder performs his new music, Gained’t Be Residence
Reflecting on their friendship, Alder shared fond recollections of Hansen’s unwavering assist.
“As a child, I met him on the basketball courtroom. I used to be the worst participant on the crew, and I feel he wasn’t the perfect participant, however he selected to be the captain of the crew.
“He realized that it’s important to work on the weakest hyperlink of the crew, so he spent numerous time attempting to get my abilities higher, versus many different folks would ostracize you,” he mentioned.
North by Northwest21:12Guitarist Don Alder on his album “Gained’t Be Residence”
‘I might by no means commerce my life for the usage of my legs’
Following the conclusion of his international tour, Hansen established the Man in Movement World Tour Society in 1988, later renamed the Rick Hansen Basis, to assist analysis tasks centered on spinal twine accidents.
Hansen says he’s glad to see the optimistic modifications in attitudes towards disabilities and accessibility which have taken place over time. He says he’s seen the notion shift from negativity and pity to positivity and assist.
When reflecting on the automotive accident that altered the course of his life half a century in the past, Hansen says he feels a way of gratitude.
“I might by no means commerce my life for the usage of my legs — I’ve had the best alternative to work laborious and to develop and to have a significant life that isn’t outlined by my legs.”