The 25th Anniversary Rick Hansen Relay will be arriving in Revelstoke on April 10 for a downtown celebration, staying overnight then departing April 11.
Local event organizer Garry Pendergast says many of the details of the event are still being finalized and it’s not clear whether Rick Hansen himself will be attending.
The relay will come from the west and arrive at Grizzly Plaza at 5 p.m., where a travelling stage will be put up for an end-of-day celebration. Relay organizers say the celebration will “provide the opportunity for communities to come together, recognize their own difference makers, raise awareness about accessibility and inclusiveness and inspire a new generation to take action to help make the world a better place.” The celebration will include presentations, speeches, bands and other entertainment.
The event gets rolling again on April 11 with a rally at Revelstoke Secondary School before getting back on the road, travelling east towards Golden. The relay participants are known as medal-bearers. Local participants will run, walk, wheel or bike with a special medal created by the Royal Canadian Mint.
The cross-Canada relay marks 25 years since Rick Hansen completed his Man in Motion World Tour in 1987.
Hansen made headlines in 1985 when he rolled his wheelchair out of Vancouver to begin his 40,000 km, 34-country Man in Motion world tour. It took two years to complete, during which he raised more than $26 million for spinal cord injury research. Hansen, 54, was paralyzed from the waist-down in a car crash when he was 15-years-old.
He visited Revelstoke on April 16, 1987, with only 1,048 kilometres left on his journey. According to a report in the Revelstoke Review, hundreds of Revelstokians, including mayor Geoff Battersby, came out to greet him and more than $9,000 was raised. He was escorted to Grizzly Plaza by the Revelstoke Secondary School track team before embarking on the ascent to Rogers Pass, escorted out of Revelstoke by an entourage of runners.
“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t go on to reach your goals and dreams in life,” Hansen told the crowd at the time.