Rick Hansen the paraplegic athlete who became the first person to travel around the world in a wheelchair.
Rick Hansen sets out to circumnavigate the land masses of the world in a wheelchair. Hansen was inspired by his friend Terry Fox, the Canadian athlete who lost his leg due to bone cancer and subsequently set out on the “Marathon of Hope” in 1980, running across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Fox ultimately was unable to complete his run due to his cancer returning, which he soon died.
Rick Hansen decided he’d like to do a similar promotion, but decided to not just try to make it across Canada, but to travel around the world, raising awareness and money for spinal cord injury research. He named this journey the “Man in Motion World Tour”. Raised $20 million which is to be directed to spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sports. Before his return to Vancouver 22 May 1987, Hansen traveled through 34 countries, including the US, the UK, China, the former USSR and Australia, before starting across Canada. His odyssey lasted 792 days. He covered a distance of 24,901.55 miles, traversing 53 miles per day traveling (465 travel days out of a possible 792). He also averaged 30,000 strokes per travel day before finally completing his journey.
His story is recounted in Man in Motion (1987). In 1987 he became a Companion of the Order of Canada. Hansen was the commissioner general for the Canadian at Expo 1990 in Australia. He continues to be active in promoting disabled athletics and serves on a number of government organizations that deal with the needs of the physically disabled.
He says “Always set goals, and work as hard as you can. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.” There is nothing you can’t do, if you set your mind to it. Anything is possible.