Rick Hansen

by Emma from Concord

Image from Rick Hansen.com
Image from Rick Hansen.com

What is a hero? I think that a hero is someone who devotes their lives to helping other people.

Rick Hansen was living a normal life as a fifteen-year-old boy, when a terrible disaster ruined his life, or so everyone thought. Rick was involved in a car accident; a truck ran into the car he was riding in. The result of this accident would affect his life forever; he became paralyzed from the waist down.

Before the accident Rick had a passion for sports, but he loved to fish. When he became paralyzed, he must have thought that he would never have a chance to fish again. He was wrong. Rick still likes to fish, but he also enjoys Pilates, tennis, Kayaking and sit skiing. Rick also really liked to run, and he must have been horrified when he found that he would never have the chance to run again. Rick has also participated in the 1984 Olympic Games.

It must have been hard for Rick to go through all of these changes; he went from skiing normally, to sit skiing, and he went from walking to using a wheelchair.


Soon, Rick decided that he wanted to show the world that everyone can do great things, even those with disabilities. On March 21, 1985, he left Vancouver to wheel around the world collecting money for spinal cord research. Rick reached his 8000 km while battling the flu. On January 1, 1986 thieves stole three thousand dollars worth of Rick’s clothing, but he still went on. In the end, Rick was successful in raising ten million dollars to go towards spinal cord research.

Since Rick became paralyzed in 1973, he has traveled twenty one thousand miles through thirty-four different states and in four countries in his wheelchair. This is a great accomplishment which most people wouldn’t even think of trying - let along doing so while paralyzed!

Rick has been involved in many wheelchair marathons. His first was the Vancouver International Marathon in 1979 where he came in third place. In total, he has won nineteen international marathons.

Rick is the current chair of the Commission for the Inclusion of Athletes with Disabilities. He wanted to help these athletes with disabilities to receive full medal status.

Rick has gathered four million dollars to develop wheelchair sports and awareness in Canada through the Man in Motion legacy fund. His educational background was a bachelor of physical education in 1986, and he went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Rick visits schools often to be a positive role model to children. He lives in Richmond, BC with his wife, Amanda, and his three children.

Rick has shown people that no matter what condition you are in, there is always a way that you can help people.

Page created on 7/21/2006 12:01:55 PM

Last edited 7/21/2006 12:01:55 PM

Related Links

Man in Motion Foundation - "Our mission is to inspire others to share in the achievement of big dreams that accelerate improvements in the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury (SCI)."
Rick Hansen - Biography and links from wikipedia
CBC Archives
Kids in Motion - Fun website!