Big celebration planned for Rick HansenGuardian photo by Steve Sharratt
Mary Lynn Ross and her fellow students at Montague Regional high school are all set to welcome the arrival of Rick Hansen in a big way today. Most secondary school students weren’t even born when the original Man in Motion rolled through the town 25 years ago to raise money for spinal cord injury. Now 54, Hansen is back for a second public awareness campaign.
And he’ll present the original "Man in Motion" with the gifts on behalf of the Northumberland Ferry service today when Hansen boards the Holiday Island en route to Prince Edward Island.
“I escorted Rick off the ferry 25 years ago and I have been given the chance to welcome him on board a quarter century later,’’ said MacLeod, who was a deck hand back in 1986. “I am currently battling cancer and Rick Hansen is a true inspiration to me as was Terry Fox.”
It’s been a quarter of a century since Rick Hansen earned the respect of the world when he conducted his round the world Man in Motion tour (in a wheelchair) to raise money and awareness for spinal cord research. Now he’s back and eastern P.E.I.’s largest town is hosting a big celebration for the renowned Canadian.
“It will be a double pleasure for me,’’ says Mayor Richard Collins who remembers Hansen’s first visit.
Twenty-five years ago, long before text messaging and cell phones, Hansen proceeded down the Main Street here with throngs of students and well wishers. One of those well wishers was Collins, who just happened to be town mayor back then.
“We’re ready to show him a grand welcome,” he said. “And everyone is invited to share in the celebration at the waterfront.”
Hansen, who has raised millions of dollars for spinal cord research, will roll off the Wood Islands ferry around 2 p.m. Wednesday and begin his tour of the Island to mark his cross Canada relay repeat aimed at fund raising for spinal cord research.
Arrives 2:15 in Wood Island Travels direct to Murray River for short stop On to Montague regional high school for 3:15 presentation Attends public gathering with presentations, food and music at Montague waterfront at 4 p.m. -
The Canadian hero was paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash when he was 15 and continues to work for integration and environmental causes. He is back to with a cross country relay with students acting as bearers to pass the medal from one hand to another as it heads to Vancouver.
“It was a beautiful September day when he was here last time and it’s almost to the day,’’ said Collins. “We hope for a huge turnout at the waterfront.”
The 54-year-old Hansen will leave Wood Islands and head to Murray River where Colin MacLeod has been selected by the community to be the medal bearer. Hansen will have a brief stop there before heading to Montague. He is expected to visit and speak with students at the regional high school before proceeding to the waterfront around 4 p.m. for the public meet and greet.
“We hope the streets will be lined with supporters,’’ said Collins. “We’ll have a few welcome speeches and presentations and some music.”
The town is hosting a barbecue for everyone who attends and promoters say Hansen welcomes the opportunity to avail himself for photographs and autographs.
The Man in Motion will stay overnight in the area and visit Cardigan consolidated Thursday morning before proceeding to St. Peter’s and Charlottetown.
Rick Hansen delights crowds
Medal bearer Kevin Jenkins of Montague give a high five to Canadian hero Rick Hansen after arriving from his portion of the'Many' in Motion tour at the Montague waterfront Wednesday afternoon. Hansen, who arrived on the Island via the Wood Islands ferry, gave a talk at the Montague regional high school and heads towards Charlottetown Thursday.
MONTAGUE — The man who circled the globe in his wheelchair 25 years ago got a hero's welcome here Wednesday and advocated inclusion for all people.
Canadian hero Rick Hansen has raised millions for spinal cord research and is on a journey to repeat his Man in Motion tour of 1986 when he crossed Canada. He started in August in Newfoundland and expects to reach Vancouver before the snow flies.
There are 7,000 volunteer medal bearers joining him in the relay.
"But this time it's not a 'Man in Motion' tour,'' he told the crowd. "It's a 'Many in Motion tour' and I thank you all for being part of it, especially the medal bearers."
The Canadian athlete who was paralyzed in a car accident when he was 15 avoided any big entry to the public event and just quietly appeared; leaving the glory to the medal bearers who ran, walked, or rolled from Wood Islands during the day.
"It's great to have you back for a return visit,'' said Mayor Richard Collins, who presented gifts on behalf of the town and was the mayor in 1986 when Hansen, then 29, stopped here on his first national tour.
Hansen said everyone should work towards their dreams no matter how hard and insisted inclusion for all. The gold medallist travels to Cardigan and St. Peter's Friday morning before arriving in the capital later in the day.
Man in Motion tours P.E.I.
Posted: Sep 22, 2011 12:51 PM AT
Rick Hansen arrived in Montague Wednesday for the P.E.I. portion of a nine-month, 12,000-kilometre trek across Canada celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Man in Motion tour.
Hansen’s first stop was the new Montague Regional High School. He described fond memories of his reception there and throughout the region 25 years ago.Rick Hansen began the P.E.I. portion of a Canada-wide tour Wednesday.
"It didn't matter where we were in the Atlantic provinces, people were absolutely so hospitable and so encouraging," he said.
While visiting the province, Hansen is recognizing 100 Islanders with his Rick Hansen Medal, for what he calls their inspirational efforts to engage Canadians to make positive change.
Medal recipients will recreate Hansen's route as a relay by running, walking, wheeling or biking the route carrying the medal, which was produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.
In all, Hansen will recognize 7,000 people across the country in this way.
In Montague, Jeff Docherty was the first to carry the medal. He motivated family and friends, as well as people he didn't know but who followed his progress online, by walking every day. Docherty has lost 35 pounds and his goal is to lose 65 more.
Docherty said Hansen was a major figure in his life. He accompanied Hansen on part of his Island tour 25 years ago, and was inspired by Hansen again as an adult.
"I saw footage of him wheeling up the Great Wall of China and going through all kinds of weather injured and sore and tired, and thought if he can do that why can't I get out and walk 15 minutes every day?" he said.
Docherty was the first of four "difference makers" who carried the medal from Murray River to Montague Regional High School, each taking it 250 metres.
Christy Beck, a grade 12 teacher at the school, also expressed fond memories of Hansen's first visit.
"I remember really vividly him coming through the door and the place bursting into noise, everybody really excited that he was here," she said.
On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., Hansen will visit Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown.
Hansen is retracing the Canadian portion of his tour, which covered 34 countries from 1985 to 1987. The tour raised $14 million for spinal cord research.