An inclusive society without barriers

Rick’s Life Passions

“I honestly believe that my best work is in front, not behind me. I am driven by a deep passion and need to make a difference and leave this world a little better than when I arrived. That’s what keeps me going.” -Rick Hansen

Canadian icon Rick Hansen is best known as the Man In Motion for spearheading one of history’s most memorable journeys – the Rick Hansen Man In Motion World Tour.

While Rick’s Tour ended in 1987 in Vancouver, his lifelong quest to make a difference in the lives of others began much earlier.

Image of Rick Hansen using a handcycle in early spring at the University of British Columbia.

Handcycling, 1995.

Family and Community

Growing up in a rural environment with aunts, uncles and grandparents all close by, the close-knit family community played a pivotal role in the development of Rick’s character. That same close community rallied around him following his spinal cord injury at the age of 15. Recognizing the unwavering strength and encouragement that he received from his family and friends, Rick remains grateful for the critical role their support played in the path his life has taken.

In 1984, when Rick injured his shoulder training for the Olympics, he met Amanda Reid, a physiotherapist. Thanks to her remarkable skills, Rick returned to competition in record time. Soon after, she courageously left her job to join Rick and the team on the road for the Man In Motion World Tour as Rick’s physiotherapist, throughout which she was a pillar of strength for Rick.

Rick and Amanda fell in love and were married following the Tour. They have three daughters, Emma, Alana, and Rebecca. Rick and Amanda are both intimately involved in their children’s lives, and strive to provide the same close-knit community that Rick experienced growing up. They take every opportunity to share teachable moments to help develop their children’s characters and encourage them to be the best they can be.

Image of Amanda, Alana, Rick, Emma and Rebecca Hansen.

Hansen family portrait, 2006.

Fishing/Conservation

Rick’s earliest memories are of fishing adventures with his grandfather, father, uncle and cousins. At the age of 15, Rick sustained a spinal cord injury on his way home from a fishing trip. Following his injury, fishing proved to be therapeutic and helped Rick realize that he was still an adventurer. Using adapted equipment, he ventured out again with family and friends, catching lots of fish and realizing that life could continue.

Today, Rick also uses fishing as a way to help others, and to provide extraordinary experiences for people with disabilities. The Rick Hansen Fishing Challenge has raised significant funds in support of the protection of precious ecosystems and making the world a healthier and more inclusive place, and owing to Rick’s leadership, individuals like Robb Dunfield now have life-altering stories to share.

In recent years, Rick has broadened his passion for fishing to include environmental stewardship by providing leadership to two important initiatives. He is the Founding Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society which works to conserve and protect Fraser River white sturgeon and their habitat. He also formed the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society, which supports the conservation and sustainable use of Pacific salmon stocks.

“People who are passionate about fishing play a vital role in conservation, awareness and sustainability,” says Rick. “While I encourage everyone to participate in the wonderful sport of fishing, I also encourage them to respect the environment and to look for ways they can ensure our resources will be available for generations to come.”

Image of Rick Hansen and Rob  a fishing boat holding a sturgeon.

Rick and Rob Dunfield.

Image of Rick Hansen wearing rain gear driving fishing boat.

Rick Hansen, Fishing.

Sport

As a gold-medal Paralympian and World Champion, Rick is passionate about sport. Beyond the spirit of competition however, Rick firmly believes sport has the ability to bridge divides and inspire youth. And sport plays a crucial role in realizing one of Rick’s ultimate dreams: creating healthy and inclusive communities.

As the first person with a disability to graduate from UBC with a degree in physical education, Rick now enjoys coaching volleyball and basketball in his spare time. He believes that through mentorship and encouragement, people of all ages will have the power to become the best that they can be. He considers it an honour to play a role in the personal development of someone’s life.

Image of Rick Hansen taking part in a wheelchair race.

Pan American Wheelchair Games, Halifax, 1982