The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay rolls through Mission May 16, celebrating the Man in Motion’s original pan-Canadian wheelchair tour to bring awareness to people living with spinal cord injuries.
Though Hansen himself likely won’t be making the trip, Mission’s deputy director of parks, recreation and culture, Stephanie Key, said he wants to pass others the figurative torch. Except instead of torches, they’ll be bearing special medals crafted by the Canadian Mint.
Although more than 20 medal bearers will each complete a 350-metre leg of the journey through the district, Doug Pearson has been chosen to be the official medal bearer for Mission.
Hansen became a Canadian icon when he began his world tour on March 21, 1985 in Vancouver, inspired by fellow British Columbian Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.
“There’s lots of young people that don’t really know what he did,” said Key.
The relay is set up to trace his Canadian route 25 years ago and the district has some historical photographs from when the Man in Motion first passed through. Key said some people may not realize how much of a difference the tour made to assist those with disabilities.
“When he came through town, they didn’t have letdowns in the curbs. So they actually went out and created one so he could get on the sidewalk.”
The local celebration takes place from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Leisure Centre. There will be music, a wheelchair obstacle course, storytime, games for pre-schoolers, a magician, a Rick Hansen video and photo display, a barbecue lunch, an anniversary cake and balloons, and more.
Visit www.mission.ca for full details.