Rick Hansen Celebration 25

Just a little bit about the amazing Rick Hanson today. Twenty-five years to the day Rick Hansen and the Man In Motion World Tour returned to Vancouver, Rick Hansen Celebration 25 will inspire a new generation to challenge what is and to envision what can be.

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour from around the world! Undertaken in 1985 – 1987 by Rick Hansen – paralyzed from the waist down after an accident – the tour was a 40,000 kilometer journey through 34 countries to raise awareness about the potential of people with disabilities, to create accessible communities and to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. Cheer on medal bearers and attend events across the Lower Mainland as the 25th Anniversary Rick Hansen Relay comes to an end after 273 days in Vancouver, British Columbia!

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Celebration 25 concert at the Pacific Coliseum on Mar 22, 2012, thanks to @LondonDrugs. The seats were fantastic (Floor, Row 7, right in the middle). On a side note, I call London Drugs “The Mothership” – I get everything there!! I could live inside these stores quite comfortably!

I have a few personal stories reflecting on Rick Hansen and his journey. First and foremost, I was inspired by his story and journey when he came and spoke to my Grade 12 class… oh 13 years ago. This is probably the first time where I had actually given serious thought to working with people as a profession. I ended up doing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and throughout I worked for a not-for-profit agency working with children with special needs. It was here where I really learned about how the world and society which actually makes people “dis” abled when these individuals could be fully-abled people. Curbs, vans, malls, grocery stores, impatient people all contributed to the days where I took out clients in the wheelchair accessible vans (or not even, depending on the availability of the van itself) to locations around the city. I experienced it all – finding skytrain elevators that were actually working, navigating aisles in stores, facilitating lifts, seeking resources such as beds and lifts for homes. It is a very complex system to navigate. During my Master of Social Work degree, I was fortunate to do some work in specific areas of the hospitals treating both spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and acquired brain injuries (ABIs). While my current employment has veered from these areas, I still work with people in a counselling capacity and helping people is my life. I also did a walking tour a few years ago where we walked through a local Vancouver neighbourhood and evaluated how accessible the community was – which was severely lacking, unfortunately.

Onto the concert!

The event was hosted by Michael Landsberg (of TSN’s SportsCentre fame) and Leah Miller (host of So You Think You Can Dance Canada). The Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver was filled with more than 5,500 people anticipating a show surrounded with hope, tears and a celebration. The evening was filled with a mix of performances by some of Canada’s top musicians and artists (Sarah McLachlan and David Foster) with stories of various Canadian “Difference Makers” who relayed their inspiring stories and charities to the audience.

Sarah McLachlan. Photo Credit natalievana

I won’t go into detail about each and every performance, but some notable performances were by Sarah McLachlan, singing Angel and Ordinary Miracle, Jann Arden, singing Good Mother and Insensitive, Marianas Trench with Fall Out and Beside You, Johnny Reid and the Canadian Tenors, and finally, to end the evening was the epic song made famous by Rick Hansen’s journey – a stunning rendition of St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) sung by Sean Jones and the Canadian Tenors with the piano played by the amazing composer, David Foster.

There were many inspiring stories interwoven into the performances. Everyday heroes included Jane Ekong, Josh Dueck, Hannah Taylor, Josh Nelson, Mark Burger were honoured along with remarkable Canadians, including David Suzuki, Craig Kielburger, Lauren Woolstencroft, David Foster and Sarah McLachlan.

Rick Hansen ended the evening with overwhelming gratitude to the support given to the past 25 years from his original around-the-world journey to today, on the 25th anniversary. Here’s to 25 more years of hope!

Rick Hansen. Photo Credit natalievana

Here’s some links to the fabulous charities mentioned throughout the evening:

  1. Rick Hansen Foundation – http://www.rickhansen.com
  2. Sarah McLachlan School of Music – http://www.sarahschoolofmusic.com/
  3. Jane Ekong and the Emmanual Charitable Foundation’s Purple Computer Project – http://www.emmanuelcharity.org/
  4. Hannah Taylor and the Ladybug Foundation – http://www.ladybugfoundation.ca
  5. Mark Burger and Josh Nelson – National Kids Cancer Ride – http://joshnelson.snkcr.com/
  6. David Suzuki Foundation – http://www.davidsuzuki.org
  7. Craig Kielburger and Feed the Children – http://www.freethechildren.com
  8. David Foster Foundation – http://www.davidfosterfoundation.org

Thanks again to London Drugs for the tickets!

Disclaimer: Please note that this review was of my own initiation. I was not expected to nor paid for writing commentary of the event. Any thoughts are my own and not of any business affiliated.

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