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Rick FAQs

  
  1. When and where was Rick born?
  2. What did Rick do before he wheeled around the world?
  3. Which languages does Rick speak?
  4. Favorites?
  5. What are Rick’s hobbies?
  6. What were some of the jobs that you had?
  7. What did you do before your travel? (primarily in the 80's).
  8. Was it hard growing up with a disability?
  9. Were there people in your life who ever doubted you? How did you overcome that?
  10. What is the best way to help yourself after having a setback in life?
  11. How many wheelchairs have you used in your life?
  12. What is Rick doing now?
  13. What are your goals for the future? Is there anything you have yet to achieve?
  14. I understand that Rick graduated with a Phys Ed degree from UBC.  Is he CATA certified or 
    has he ever done athletic therapy?
  15. What is your job?
  16. What training did you need for your job?
  17. What are the duties of your job?
  18. What is your favourite part of your job?
  19. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about your job?
  20. Is Rick married?
  21. What is your brother’s name and what are your two sisters’ names?
       
  1. When and where was Rick born?
    Rick was born in Port Alberni, British Columbia on August 26, 1957.
  2. What did Rick do before he wheeled around the world?
    Rick was born in Port Alberni, BC, Canada on August 26th, 1957, and grew up in Williams Lake, BC.  In 
    1973, at the age of 15, while on a fishing trip with his friends, he made a decision that would change his 
    life.  They decided to hitchhike home from the trip and ended up riding in the back of a pick up truck 
    that went out of control.  Rick was thrown from the truck, breaking his back and severing his spinal cord. 
    He couldn’t feel or use his legs.  The crash left him a paraplegic and he now uses a wheelchair to get 
    around.
  3. Which languages does Rick speak?
    Rick speaks English and some French.
  4. Favorites?
    Colour: Blue
    Food: Anything really spicy and sushi.
  5. What are Rick's hobbies?
    I am a long time avid fisherman.Because I love fishing and the outdoors, I am interested in environmental issues, and volunteer some of my time as the Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, which is dedicated to conserving and restoring Fraser River sturgeon stocks. I am also involved as the Chair of the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund, which aims to restore salmon stocks in British Columbia.
  6. What were some of the jobs that you had?
    One of my first jobs was babysitting to make some pocket money. I had an opportunity for youth summer job where we helped clean up people's yards. One summer I worked with Wheelchair Sport as a Sport Coordinator. I also worked at the lumber mill and as a forest fire tanker base dispatcher in Williams Lake, and also for BC Tel as a customer service representative.
    I am currently the CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, where I am hard at work with my team on my biggest dream ever, a world in which people with spinal cord injury can return to full physical function. By accelerating improvements to the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and supporting research leading to a cure, I believe this dream can come true.
  7. What did you do before your travel? (primarily in the 80's)?

    In the 80's, prior to leaving on the Man In Motion World Tour, I was a university student. I was the first person with a physical disability to graduate from the University of British Columbia with a Physical Education degree.

    I was also pretty focused on wheelchair sport here in Canada and Internationally. Wheelchair track and marathons were my specialties. I won 19 International Wheelchair Marathons, 6 Paralympic medals, was able to represent Canada in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. I also participated and competed in numerous other sports including wheelchair basketball, racquetball, tennis and volleyball winning a number of medals.

    I also volunteered time, touring schools to promote awareness of the potential of people with disabilities and wheelchair sport, and I assisted in a variety of fundraisers for wheelchair sport.

  8. Was it hard growing up with a disability?
    Yes, sustaining a spinal cord injury and becoming a paraplegic completely changed my world. I had always been really active, playing sports or going off on adventures with friends - so it took time to adjust to life at home using a wheelchair. I was devastated because I thought using a wheelchair meant I wasn't the same person I was before my injury; I thought people would treat me differently and I didn't like feeling dependent on others. But thanks to the support of good friends, family and my coach, I soon realized a person is not defined by their disability - that my biggest hurdle was my own attitude. Once I shifted my perspective and changed how I approached challenges, I discovered I was still able to do a lot of the things I did before my injury. I have had some amazing experiences since I was injured and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
  9. Were there people in your life who ever doubted you? How did you overcome that?

    The biggest challenge I have faced is the negative perception of people who use wheelchairs. However, that challenge also became my biggest opportunity. The Man In Motion World Tour helped open people’s eyes to the potential of people with disabilities.

    The most difficult part of the Tour was going through Europe.  We were challenged by the lack of response, being so far from home, the difficulty of dealing with different cultures and languages. We were tired, weary and unorganized plus I was dealing with physical injuries. In addition to all that, our Tour member and friend, Tim Frick, left.

    There were times I wanted to give up, but Amanda (my physiotherapist on the Tour, now my wife and the mother of our three daughters) supported me in the darkest times. She is such an insightful person, so solid and grounded. When I was immersed in the struggle and really tired my perspective was sometimes limited. Receiving advice from Amanda helped me overcome many of those challenges. That experience taught me that with a great team of people around you, you can overcome any challenge.

  10. What is the best way to help yourself after having a setback in life?

    After my injury I was very discouraged and frustrated. I constantly compared my life before the injury and found my new reality lacking. I was devastated because I thought using a wheelchair meant I wasn't the same person I was before my injury; I thought people would treat me differently and I didn't like feeling dependent on others.  But thanks to the support of good friends, family and my coach, I soon realized a person is not defined by their disability - that my biggest hurdle was my own attitude. Once I shifted my perspective and changed how I approached challenges, I discovered I was still able to do a lot of the things I did before my injury.  Once I could see the possibilities and stop the comparisons, it was easier for me to face the challenge of my new situation.  I have had some amazing experiences since my injury, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

    I was fortunate to have the benefit of some incredible role models.  When I was young, people took the time to explain the importance of personal achievement and determination to me. I was continually challenged and inspired to make my life all that it could be, to constantly focus on the things I can do. As you can see, I have first-hand experience of people making a difference in my life. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we can all positively impact the lives of people around us every day. I believe that you should never give up on your dreams no matter how big or small they might be. I have learned many things so far, and I believe that with the support and commitment from people around us, anything is possible!

  11. How many wheelchairs have you used in your life?
    Too many to count. Before the Man in Motion World Tour, I trained extremely hard for wheelchair sports winning 19 international wheelchair marathons, including three World Championships. I also competed for Canada in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  I used many chairs during my marathon years. Then, during the tour, we used a number or chairs, some specially made like the 4 wheel drive chair that I used to come across Canada in the middle of winter.
  12. What is Rick doing now?

    His dream is a world in which people with spinal cord injury can return to full physical function. By accelerating improvements to the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and supporting research leading to a cure, he believes this dream can come true, and will continue to work toward that goal.

    As a long time avid fisherman, he is also interested in environmental issues, and he volunteers some of his time as the Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, which is dedicated to conserving and restoring Fraser River sturgeon stocks. He is also involved as the Chair of the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund, which aims to restore salmon stocks in British Columbia.

    One of the most important things he spends time on is encouraging and supporting youth through school programs, presentations to schools and community initiatives.

    His life's philosophy is to make a difference in the lives of others, and he feels passionate about contributing in ways that utilize his skills and strengths to help the community

    He believes his best work is yet to come.

    He and his wife Amanda are fortunate to have 3 young daughters, and he believes that the time he spends with them is the most important thing he can spend his time doing. He looks forward to helping them grow as people, and to share their triumphs and challenges. Being a parent is one of life's great joys, and he and Amanda have been blessed.

  13. What are your goals for the future? Is there anything you have yet to achieve?

    My dream is a world in which people with spinal cord injury can return to full physical function. By accelerating improvements to the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and supporting research leading to a cure, I believe this dream can come true.

    As a long time avid fisherman, I am interested in environmental issues, and I volunteer some of my time as the Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, which is dedicated to conserving and restoring Fraser River sturgeon stocks. I am also involved as the Chair of the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund, which aims to restore salmon stocks in British Columbia.

    One of the most important things I spend time on is encouraging and supporting youth through school programs, presentations to schools and community initiatives. My life’s philosophy is to make a difference in the lives of others, and I feel passionate about contributing in ways that utilize my skills and strengths to help our community.

    I believe my best work is yet to come.

  14. I understand that Rick graduated with a Phys Ed degree from UBC. Is he CATA certified or has he ever done athletic therapy?
    Rick has his BPE, but has not gone further in his studies in physical education.
  15. What is your job?

    I am currently President and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, working with my team  to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and to support research to find a cure.

    My dream is a world in which people with spinal cord injury can return to full physical function. By accelerating improvements to the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and supporting research leading to a cure, I believe this dream can come true.

  16. What training did you need for your job?
    I was fortunate to have many fantastic mentors from the business community and leadership opportunities to assist me in harnessing my vision. Along with my bachelor of Physical Education degree from UBC, I also participated in a number of leadership seminars/forums. I have well over 25 years experience in leading diverse teams both organizationally, and on specific projects. One of the largest training opportunities in which my leadership skills were built and put to the test, was the Man In Motion World Tour. The Man in Motion World Tour was my journey around the world to make a difference. With the help of an incredible team, tremendous advisors and supporters, I wheeled the circumference of the earth: 40,072 kilometers. The tour took 2 years, 2 months and 2 days, and took us through 34 countries, on 4 continents. I led the team and we raised over $26 million dollars to support spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sport, and heightened worldwide awareness of the potential of people with disabilities.
  17. What are the duties of your job?
    I am responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the Rick Hansen Foundation. This means that I lead the Foundation team in developing our business plan each year, including our budget. This includes developing a plan to bring financial support and partners to support us in meeting our goals. Then I work with our Board of Directors to approve the plan. Once the plan is approved, I am responsible for overseeing that it is put into action and for ensuring that financial and human resources are managed properly. I am a spokesperson for the Foundation and I advocate on behalf of the Foundation to assist in communicating our goals and bringing people and money together to help us meet our goals. I also do quite a bit of public speaking for business leaders, community groups and youth to help inspire people to get involved in helping us make a difference.
  18. What is your favourite part of your job?
    I really enjoy bringing people together to work on a problem; the energy a group of committed people bring to advancing a cause or solving a problem is very motivating, and great things can be accomplished.
  19. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about your job?
    My life’s philosophy is to make a difference in the lives of others, and I feel passionate about contributing in ways that utilize my skills and strengths to help our community.  I believe that when work is aligned with your passion, anything is possible.  I believe my best work is yet to come.
  20. Is Rick married?
    Rick is married to Amanda Reid, and they are the proud parents of three daughters - Emma, Alana and 
    Rebecca.
  21. What is your brother’s name and what are your two sisters’ names?
    My brother’s name is Brad, and my two sisters are called Cindy and Christine.
  
  1. When was Rick injured?
  2. How old was Rick when he was injured?
  3. Did you feel your life was over when you were injured?
  4. What was it like when you first became a paraplegic? What were your thoughts and feelings? Where did you find the strength to go on?
  5. What were you feeling when you were paralyzed?
  6. How do you feel about using a wheelchair?
  7. How did you make the wheelchair dance?
  8. You were with a couple of your friends. What happened to them? This accident obviously changed your life and you became a huge advocate for people with spinal cord injuries, did your friends do the same?
  1. When was Rick injured?
    June 27, 1973 approximately 8pm
  2. How old was Rick when he was injured?
    In the summer of 1973, Rick Hansen was returning home from a fishing trip with a friend, the truck in which they were riding went out of control and crashed. The doctors told Rick that he was a paraplegic, and that he would never walk again. He was 15 years old.
  3. Did you feel your life was over when you were injured?
    After my injury, I was very discouraged and frustrated. I constantly compared my life before I was injured with my new reality and found it lacking. Once I could see the possibilities and stop comparing it was easier for me to face the challenge of my new situation. I have had some amazing experiences since my injury, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
  4. What was it like when you first became a paraplegic? What were your thoughts and feelings? Where did you find the strength to go on?

    After my injury I was very discouraged and frustrated. I constantly compared my life before the injury and found my new reality lacking. Once I could see the possibilities and stop the comparisons, it was easier for me to face the challenge of my new situation. I have had some amazing experiences since my injury, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

    I was fortunate to have the benefit of some incredible role models. When I was young, people took the time to explain the importance of personal achievement and determination to me. I was continually challenged and inspired to make my life all that it could be, to constantly focus on the things I can do. As you can see, I have first-hand experience of people making a difference in my life. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we can all positively impact the lives of people around us every day.

  5. What were you feeling when you were paralyzed?
    I was returning home from a fishing trip with a friend, when the truck we were riding in went out of control and crashed. My friend was thrown clear of the truck, and I landed on a tool box which snapped my back – and I couldn’t feel my legs. Sustaining a spinal cord injury and becoming a paraplegic completely changed my world. I had always been really active, playing sports or going off on adventures with friends – so it took time to adjust to life at home using a wheelchair. I was devastated because I thought using a wheelchair meant I wasn’t the same person I was before my injury; I thought people would treat me differently and I didn’t like feeling dependent on others.  But thanks to the support of good friends, family and my coach, I soon realized a person is not defined by their disability – that my biggest hurdle was my own attitude. Once I shifted my perspective and changed how I approached challenges, I discovered I was still able to do a lot of the things I did before my injury. I have had some amazing experiences since I was injured and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
  6. How do you feel about using a wheelchair?
    After my injury, I was very discouraged and frustrated. I constantly compared my life before I was injured with my new reality and found it lacking. Once I could see the possibilities and stop comparing it was easier for me to face the challenge of my new situation. I have had some amazing experiences since my injury, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
  7. How did you make the wheelchair dance?

    As I got back into sport after my accident, I learned to use my chair as something more than transportation. I got really used to moving it around and figured that if I could play games in it, why couldn’t I dance in it? I taught myself to do wheelies, 180s and 360s so that I could make the chair dance.

  8. You were with a couple of your friends. What happened to them? This accident obviously changed your life and you became a huge advocate for people with spinal cord injuries, did your friends do the same?

    I was returning home from a fishing trip with my friend Don Alder, when the truck we were riding in went out of control and crashed. My friend was thrown clear of the truck, and I landed on a tool box that snapped my back – I could no longer feel my legs. Sustaining a spinal cord injury and becoming a paraplegic completely changed my world. I had always been really active, playing sports or going off on adventures with friends – so it took time to adjust to life at home using a wheelchair. After my injury I was very discouraged and frustrated. I constantly compared my life before the injury and found my new reality lacking. I was devastated because I thought using a wheelchair meant I wasn’t the same person I was before my injury; I thought people would treat me differently and I didn’t like feeling dependent on others. But thanks to the support of good friends, family and my coach, I soon realized a person is not defined by their disability – that my biggest hurdle was my own attitude. Once I shifted my perspective and changed how I approached challenges, I discovered I was still able to do a lot of the things I did before my injury. Once I could see the possibilities and stop the comparisons, it was easier for me to face the challenge of my new situation. I have had some amazing experiences since my injury, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I was fortunate to have the benefit of some incredible role models. When I was young, people took the time to explain the importance of personal achievement and determination to me. I was continually challenged and inspired to make my life all that it could be, to constantly focus on the things I can do.  One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we can all positively impact the lives of people around us every day.

    To answer your question - yes Don also became an advocate for people with spinal cord injuries and he was part of the Man in Motion Tour from 1985-1987 and continued working closely with me and the Foundation up until 2 years ago. Don and I remain really good friends today, he has and will always be a big part of my life and we try to see each other often. After seeing what I could do with my life as a paraplegic, he devoted himself to playing acoustic guitar and today he is a world class acoustic finger style guitarist that has won many awards.
  
  1. How did Bob Redford inspire you?
  2. How long did you know Terry Fox?
  3. How did Terry Fox inspire you to do the Man in Motion World Tour?
  4. Was Terry Fox a hero to you?
  5. Who is your role model?
  6. How does it feel being a role model for so many young individuals and inspiring them with your work and words?
  7. What still drives Rick to be a motivator and a teacher today?
  8. As someone who has inspired so many, what inspires Rick today?
  9. How did sport influence Rick?
  10. What is it like being famous? Do you enjoy having everybody knowing your name, or do you sometimes wish you could live a normal life?
  11. How do you like being a hero?
  12. Why are there schools named after Rick?
  13. What are your feelings/opinions about having a school named after you?
  14. What is your message to the students of Rick Hansen Secondary School on the school's 10th anniversary?
  15. How do you motivate people with spinal cord injuries who did not have your athletic abilities/interest prior to their accident?
  16. Do you have any advice for people with disabilities?
       
  1. How did Bob Redford inspire you?

    He thought he would have to sit on the sidelines and watch for the rest of his life. His high school coach, Bob Redford had other ideas. He challenged Rick. “You’re a born athlete,” He told him. “You can still be an athlete but in a different way.”

    Bob inspired Rick to coach and Rick found real joy in training other athletes. Then Bob introduced Rick to wheelchair sports. “The definition of an athlete is not whether or not you use your legs,” he told him.

    Rick was inspired. He took up wheelchair sports and began to excel. Yes, he was still an athlete with as much ability and talent as he had ever had. He could choose to still be an athlete but in a different way.

    “As a result of his inspiration every athletic dream I ever dreamt of came true,” Rick says. “It’s amazing to think it was all pivotal on a choice.”

    Bob Redford’s inspiration went beyond coaching. He believed in Rick. He urged him to pursue his dream of being a physical education teacher. Never mind that there were no phys ed. teachers in Canada with physical disabilities – why not pursue the dream? Why couldn’t Rick be the first one?

    To achieve that dream, Rick’s first hurdle was his own attitude. But through his coaching, Rick’s confidence grew. Yes, he could do it. Then in grade 12, the principal and vice-principal at the high school asked Rick to be the grade 11 substitute math teacher when the teacher was ill. Rick was good at math. He could teach. His confidence grew.

    He applied to the University of British Columbia to study phys ed. When his application was rejected Rick had the choice to look at it as defeat or as a challenge. Bob encouraged Rick to approach the faculty at UBC and convince them that he was the right person to break precedent and be accepted in the program. Rick followed his coach’s advice and he did convince the faculty to take a chance on him.

    “It was another pivotal choice,” Rick says. “Bob didn’t let me give up on myself. The experiences I had in high school gave me an incredible sense of hope and optimism that I could be a good teacher and that I could teach in classrooms.”

  2. How long did you know Terry Fox?
    I met Terry after he lost his leg to cancer.  I called him up to invite him out to play wheelchair basketball.
  3. How did Terry Fox inspire you to do the Man in Motion World Tour?

    Terry showed me that one person with determination can make a difference.  That one person can capture the imagination and goodwill that exists out there.

  4. Was Terry Fox a hero to you?
    I met Terry Fox after he had lost his leg to cancer.  He was on chemotherapy after leaving the hospital. I had heard that he might be interested in playing wheelchair basketball, so I gave him a call and invited him out to play with my team. Terry was a great guy, with plenty of guts. When he started playing with us he was not very good, but the spark of determination in his eye was an indication of the effort he would make to become a terrific player. It was that determination that helped him through the grueling days on his Marathon of Hope. Terry was an incredible inspiration to me and a nation and now the world through the Terry Fox run held every year in his honour. Terry inspired people to see his ability, not only did he get people to focus on his ability instead of his disability, but he raised millions and his name continues to raise millions for cancer research. He truly made a difference.
  5. Who is your role model?
    I have many; it really depends on the context. I would say Stan Stronge, an amazingly generous man who was not only a pioneer in the field of wheelchair sport, but someone I considered a close friend and mentor.
  6. How does it feel being a role model for so many young individuals and inspiring them with your work and words?
    It is incredibly flattering. I only hope that my story can help inspire young people to dream big dreams and be the best that they can be. I believe that with determination, courage and teamwork, great things can be accomplished.  We are all capable of making a difference; every person has something special to contribute.
  7. What still drives Rick to be a motivator and a teacher today?

    I set out on the Man In Motion World Tour almost 25 years ago with two goals in mind: to raise awareness to the potential of people with disabilities by helping to shape a more accessible and inclusive Canada and to support research towards a cure.

    Canada has greatly improved in the areas of accessibility and inclusion over the last 25 years and in many respects we can be looked upon as a model to the world.  I'm proud of the progress we've made and believe there is a firm commitment from Canadians to continue working towards making Canada fully accessible and inclusive.  I believe that our best work it yet to come.
  8. As someone who has inspired so many, what inspires Rick today?

    I am incredibly inspired by the youth of today; their motivation, their energy and determination. They are our leaders of tomorrow and I believe that they have the potential to create significant, positive change in our world. 

    I am also very inspired by the progress I see happening in our communities; the social change and scientific discoveries that take place everyday in our country. Seeing the real outcomes of hard work and dedication by so many people committed to making a difference in our world, fuels my passion to continue my journey towards making communities more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities, and for finding a cure for spinal cord injury.

    Lastly, my family – my wife Amanda and our three daughters – inspire and amaze me everyday. I see them growing, becoming unique, pursuing their passions and setting goals for the future. Their dreams motivate me to continue being the best husband and father I can be, and to persist in my own pursuits.
  9. How did sport influence Rick?
    Coaches, mentors, teammates and fellow competitors helped to shape my character. In such an enriched environment, they gave me a positive outlook, enabled me to set goals, achieve my dreams, taught me to work within a team, overcome adversity and never give up. I am inspired by the significance of giving time and effort to sport, and am motivated to be involved in coaching, wheelchair sports, in schools and the community.
  10. What is it like being famous? Do you enjoy having everybody knowing your name, or do you sometimes wish you could live a normal life?
    I am just a person who is working to make a difference.  I am honoured that some people see me as a role model and I appreciate the support I have received over the years.  The generous spirit of communities across Canada inspires me to remain determined to reach my goals and achieve my dreams.
  11. How do you like being a hero?

    I am just a person who is working to make a difference. I am honoured that some people see me as a role model and I appreciate the support I have received over the years. The generous spirit of communities across Canada inspires me to remain determined to reach my goals and achieve my dreams.

  12. Why are there schools named after Rick?

    Rick Hansen has been honoured by three Canadian schools named in recognition of his accomplishments. The schools are unique by the nature of their barrier free construction which gives all staff and students a level playing field and encouragement to achieve their full potential. Here are the names of the schools along with the year they opened.

    • Rick Hansen Public School, London, Ontario, 1989
    • Rick Hansen Secondary School, Abbotsford, British Columbia, 1994
    • Rick Hansen Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario,1999
  13. What are your feelings/opinions about having a school named after you?
    I am deeply honoured to be the namesake of such a unique school which exemplifies accessibility and inclusion. It makes me extremely proud that the staff and students of Rick Hansen Secondary School uphold such an incredible standard of excellence, commitment and a desire to make a difference.
  14. What is your message to the students of Rick Hansen Secondary School on the school's 10th anniversary?

    I would like to encourage the students of Rick Hansen Secondary School to use this milestone as an opportunity to look back and celebrate the incredible accomplishments of staff and students over the past ten years, and to set some goals for the legacy you and your peers would like to leave for the future. 

    Savour this special time in your life as you grow, learn and develop. Your school years are a time to find out more about yourself, your likes and dislikes; a time to make friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime and shape the person you become.

    School is a great place to start setting goals and achieving your aspirations; it’s a time to look ahead and start to plan for things you want to achieve in life.  The school environment also allows you to start looking beyond yourself, into the community; to begin seeing how you can make a difference in the world around you, and in the lives if others.  Learn to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals and dreams.
  15. How do you motivate people with spinal cord injuries who did not have your athletic abilities/interest prior to their accident?
    I try to encourage people to never give up on their dreams and to look at what you can do not what you can’t do. You don’t have to be an athlete to find meaning in your life, but for me sport was such a big part of my life before the accident and something I really wanted to get back into. It isn’t always easy to find your own path but I believe that great things can be accomplished if you set your mind to it.
  16. Do you have any advice for people with disabilities?

    One of the biggest barriers for people with disabilities is other people’s attitudes and perceptions of their capabilities. I believe that anything is possible, and that when there is a barrier, either physical or emotional, you can always find a way around it, or over it, or under it. I also believe that with determination, courage and teamwork, everyone can accomplish great things.

    It is important to focus on your ability, not your disability. We can all make a difference; every person has something special to contribute. If you have a dream you also need to have the courage to try to make it a reality

    .
 
  1. How did sport influence Rick?
  2. What kind of sports does Rick play? What kind of sports did Rick play before he was injured?
  3. How long has Rick been an athlete?
  4. When you were younger, were you always interested in the Olympics?
      
  1. How did sport influence Rick?
    Coaches, mentors, teammates and fellow competitors helped to shape my character.  In such an enriched environment, they gave me a positive outlook, enabled me to set goals, achieve my dreams, taught me to work within a team, overcome adversity and never give up.  I am inspired by the significance of giving time and effort to sport, and am motivated to be involved in coaching, wheelchair sports, in schools and the community
  2. How old was Rick when he was injured?
    Prior to his spinal cord injury, Rick participated in many sports, some of his favourites were: volleyball, badminton, basketball, ping pong, rugby, and his ultimate favourite hobby is fishing. His disability did not slow him down, following his injury, he continued participating actively in sport including wheelchair basketball, tennis, volleyball, racquetball and marathoning. He won over 19 international marathons including 4 world championships, and he competed for Canada in the 1984 Olympic Games. Currently, Rick enjoys Pilates, tennis, kayaking, skiing and don't forget his favourite pastime- fishing.
  3. How long has Rick been an athlete?
    Rick has been athletic all of his life; he learned how to fish when he was just three years old.
  4. When you were younger, were you always interested in the Olympics?
    I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember. Before my injury, my favourite sports were volleyball and basketball. As an athlete, I had always dreamed of participating in the Olympics. After my injury, that dream was still alive. I played wheelchair basketball, tennis, and volleyball, but it was marathoning that brought me to compete in the 1984 Olympics.
  
  1. What is it like travelling around the world?
  2. What was the Man in Motion World Tour?
  3. What was the Man in Motion World Tour? How far did you go? How many countries did you wheel through?  Was it hard?
  4. What inspired you to wheel around the world; didn't it seem like an impossible dream?
  5. Where did you get the idea to go around the world?
  6. What made you want to do the Man In Motion World Tour?
  7. What was the reason for your FINAL DECISION?
  8. Why did Rick want to raise money?
  9. What was the goal of the Man In Motion World Tour?
  10. How old was Rick Hansen when he started his Man In Motion World Tour?
  11. How many people were on the Team?
  12. Did Rick’s family go on the tour?
  13. How did you survive?  Did you think you were going to make it?
  14. Did you want to stop?
  15. When you were on tour were there times when you wanted to give up?  If you did, how did you make yourself go on?
  16. What was your favourite place that you traveled on the tour?
  17. What was your favourite place on the Man In Motion World Tour?
  18. How did the people treat you in the countries you traveled in?
  19. What was your favorite moment on tour?
  20. Why didn’t you go to South America during your Man In Motion World Tour?
  21. Why didn’t you go to Africa?
  22. Would you go on your tour again?
  23. What impact do you feel the Man in Motion World Tour had on Canada and how has it changed the lives of people with disabilities?
  24. How many wheelchairs did you use on the Tour?
  25. What was the diameter of the wheel of Mr. Hansen’s wheelchair from the original Man in Motion tour?
  26. What about going to China?
  27. Why was the name of the tour “Man In Motion”??
  28. Did you only travel by wheelchair? Did you have to take a boat or plane at all to get through the 34 countries?
  29. How long did it take you to go across Canada?
       
  1. What is it like travelling around the world?
    Through my participation in sport, I had the opportunity to travel the world as an athlete. This gave me confidence in achieving my dream of travelling the world during the Man In Motion World Tour. In many countries, my team and I were challenged by the lack of response, being so far from home, the difficulty of dealing with different cultures and languages. However, most countries were very supportive.  For some people, it was the first time they were able to see someone with a disability being active and contributing to society.  One of my favorite places on the tour was in China.  Over 800,000 people came out to Tiananmen Square.  It was an overwhelming welcome and show of support
  2. What was the Man in Motion World Tour?

    The Man in Motion World Tour was my journey around the world to make a difference. 

    With the help of an incredible team, tremendous advisors and supporters, I wheeled the circumference of the earth: 40,072 kilometers.  The tour took 2 years, 2 months and 2 days, and took us through 34 countries, on 4 continents. 

    During the Tour, we persevered through scorching desert heat, blinding snowstorms, huge mountain ranges, sheer exhaustion and indifference from people who didn’t understand what we were doing.  Achieving our goal was like a dream come true; all of the hard work and determination had paid off.  The Man in Motion World Tour raised over $26 million to support spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sport, and heightened worldwide awareness of the potential of people with disabilities
  3. What was the Man in Motion World Tour? How far did you go? How many countries did you wheel through?  Was it hard?

    The Man in Motion World Tour was my journey around the world to make a difference. 

    With the help of an incredible team, tremendous advisors and supporters, I wheeled the circumference of the earth: 40,072 kilometers.  The tour took 2 years, 2 months and 2 days, and took us through 34 countries, on 4 continents. 

    During the Tour, we persevered through scorching desert heat, blinding snowstorms, huge mountain ranges, sheer exhaustion and indifference from people who didn’t understand what we were doing.  Achieving our goal was like a dream come true; all of the hard work and determination had paid off.  The Man In Motion World Tour raised over $26 million to support spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sport, and heightened worldwide awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. 

    I learned that there are no walls in life too great to be scaled if you set some goals, and are determined to achieve them
  4. What inspired you to wheel around the world; didn't it seem like an impossible dream?

    I first had the vision of wheeling around the world when I was in the G.F. Strong Centre, doing rehabilitation after my spinal cord injury.  At that time, I thought it would be a great adventure to take a trip around the world with me wheeling and my buddies cycling. Later, when I was back at home, I realized that one of the biggest barriers for people with disabilities was other people’s attitudes and perceptions of their capabilities. 

    After my injury, I received assistance and goodwill from so many people.  They helped me see that I had a bright future and could achieve my goals.  I realized how important it is to give back to your community and work hard to make a difference in the lives of others.  When I traveled around the world competing in international competitions, I realized that the barriers people with disabilities faced existed everywhere.  I wanted to do something about that.  By this time Terry Fox, a friend of mine from wheelchair basketball, had inspired me, and the world, with his Marathon of Hope to support cancer research.  Terry showed me that one person with determination can make a difference.  That one person can capture the imagination and goodwill that exists out there.  I realized that maybe my dream could become a reality too.  I had been inspired to make a difference and believed that I could focus my talents and passions to raise both awareness of the potential of people with disabilities, and money for spinal cord injury on my around the world journey. 

    I have learned many things so far, and I believe that with the support and commitment from people around us, anything is possible.
  5. Where did you get the idea to go around the world?

    I first had the vision of wheeling around the world when I was in the G.F. Strong Centre, doing rehabilitation after my spinal cord injury.  At that time, I thought it would be a great adventure, to take a trip around the world, with me wheeling and my buddies cycling. Later, when I was back at home, I realized that one of the biggest barriers for people with disabilities was other people’s attitudes and perceptions of their capabilities. 

    After my injury, I received assistance and goodwill from so many people.  They helped me see that I had a bright future and could achieve my goals.  I realized how important it is to give back to your community and work hard to make a difference in the lives of others.  When I traveled around the world competing in international competitions, I realized that the barriers people with disabilities faced existed everywhere.  I wanted to do something about that.  By this time Terry Fox, a friend of mine from wheelchair basketball, had inspired me, and the world, with his Marathon of Hope to support cancer research.  I started to believe that maybe my dream could become a reality too.  I had been inspired to make a difference and believed that I could focus my talents and passions to raise both awareness of the potential of people with disabilities, and money for spinal cord injury research on my around the world journey. 

    I have learned many things so far, and I believe that with the support and commitment from people around us, we can do almost anything.
  6. What made you want to do the Man In Motion World Tour?

    I first had the vision of wheeling around the world when I was in the G.F. Strong Centre doing rehabilitation after my spinal cord injury.  At that time, I thought it would be a great adventure, to take a trip around the world, with me wheeling and my buddies cycling.  Later, when I was back at home, I realized that one of the biggest barriers for people with disabilities was other people’s attitudes and perceptions of their capabilities. 

    After my injury, I received assistance and goodwill from so many people.  They helped me see that I had a bright future and could achieve my goals.  I realized how important it is to give back to your community and work hard to make a difference in the lives of others.  When I traveled around the world competing in international competitions, I realized that the barriers people with disabilities faced existed everywhere.  I wanted to do something about that.  By this time Terry Fox, a friend of mine from wheelchair basketball, had inspired me, and the world, with his Marathon of Hope to support cancer research.  I started to believe that maybe my dream could become a reality too.  I had been inspired to make a difference and believed that I could focus my talents and passions to raise both awareness of the potential of people with disabilities, and money for spinal cord injury research on my around the world journey. 

    I have learned many things so far, and I believe that with the support and commitment from people around us, we can do almost anything.
  7. What was the reason for your FINAL DECISION?
    I formulated the dream of physically challenging myself to wheel around the world and, finally believing that I could, was inspired to do it and make a difference. Ultimately, Expo 86 was being organized and they were looking for international promotional vehicles to communicate that Expo was happening, and thought they could be a sponsor for the Tour. This sponsorship allowed the Man In Motion World Tour to become logistically possible, to match the physical preparation and belief in myself, and provided the capacity that my team and I needed to begin our journey.
  8. Why did Rick want to raise money?
    Rick wanted to raise money to support spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation, wheelchair sport and awareness.
  9. What was the goal of the Man In Motion World Tour?

    The Man in Motion World Tour was my journey around the world to make a difference. 

    With the help of an incredible team, tremendous advisors and supporters, I wheeled the circumference of the earth: 40,072 kilometers.  The tour took 2 years, 2 months and 2 days, and took us through 34 countries, on 4 continents. 

    During the Tour, we persevered through scorching desert heat, blinding snowstorms, huge mountain ranges, sheer exhaustion and indifference from people who didn’t understand what we were doing.  Achieving our goal was like a dream come true; all of the hard work and determination had paid off.  The Man in Motion World Tour raised over $26 million to support spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sport, and heightened worldwide awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. 

    I also learned that there are no walls in life too great to be scaled if you set some goals, and are determined to achieve them.
  10. How old was Rick Hansen when he started his Man In Motion World Tour?
    Rick was 27 when he started and 29 when he finished.
  11. How many people were on the Team?

    Although Rick was wheeling, he knew he couldn’t do it alone.  In the beginning he recruited friends, people he knew and trusted to accompany him on his journey.  Don Alder, Nancy Thompson and Amanda (Reid) Hansen were with the Tour for the entire journey.  Robin Lee Gibson, Mike Reid and Tim Frick were part of the crew for extended periods of time.  Other crew members joined the Tour from time to time as needed. 

    At home (in Vancouver) there were other hard working teams.  A team of staff and volunteers raised money, made travel arrangements, shipped equipment, set up meetings, solicited sponsorships and helped plan Rick’s itinerary.  A team of corporate sponsors donated supplies, services and money. 

    As the Tour rolled across Canada, a tremendous team of thousands of Canadians helped as Rick came through their towns.  They put on special events, donated money, assisted the Tour with food and lodging, and helped in any way they could.

    These special teams all helped Rick and the Man In Motion World Tour to be a success!.
  12. Did Rick’s family go on the tour?
    Rick’s cousin, Robin Lee Gibson started the Tour with Rick as the Cook.  His nickname was “Cook in Motion”.  He left the Tour for a few months, and came back to support Rick and the team when they crossed the border into BC.
  13. How did you survive?  Did you think you were going to make it?

    When we started out, we thought that the tour dates would take us from March 1985 – September 1986.  We were off by about 8 months due in part to the schedule of wheeling we had prepared.  We had not factored in enough time to share our message with the communities that we were wheeling through.  In Australia we made a decision to change our schedule to allow for more time to share our message.  This change also meant that we would be coming across Canada during winter which added time to the length of the tour, and other challenges to deal with the cold weather.  So, physically, the tour became more that I thought it would be.

    Emotionally, it became much more for me as well, we had hoped to raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities and to focus attention on the barriers that stand in the way of people reaching their full potential.  We were blown away by the tremendous response from all people who learned about our journey.  We heard stories from people about how we had given them hope for the future.  It turned out that our journey inspired people of all ages and abilities, that people were touched in many ways and that they took something away personally that helped them in their lives.  To be a part of something that made a positive impact on people was overwhelming, and wonderful.
  14. Did you want to stop?
    Sometimes, and at those times I would ask myself if I had given it my all, if I would have no regrets.  If the answer was no, I would keep on pushing.  I believe that there is no shame in stopping if you’ve done all you can, but if you haven’t, keep going.  Follow through with determination.
  15. When you were on tour were there times when you wanted to give up?  If you did, how did you make yourself go on?
    I would ask myself if I had given it my all, if I would have no regrets.  If the answer was no, I would keep on pushing.  I believe that there is no shame in stopping if you’ve done all you can, but if you haven’t, keep going.  Follow through with determination.
  16. What was your favourite place that you traveled on the tour?
    One of my favorite places on the tour was in China.  Over 800,000 people came out to Tiananmen Square.  We were pleasantly surprised by the reception as the culture is so different from ours, we didn’t know what to expect.
  17. What was your favourite place on the Man In Motion World Tour?
    One of my favorite places was the Great Wall of China.  The one thing I wanted to take away with me from the Tour was a picture of me sitting on the wall in my chair.  To see myself in a wheelchair, pushing up one of the highest slopes trying to get to one of the highest points would be a reminder, that there are no walls in life too great to be climbed.  That if I had done it once I could do it again because I knew there would be many challenges in the future.
  18. How did the people treat you in the countries you traveled in?
    Most countries were very supportive.  For some people in other countries it was the first time they were able to see someone with a disability being active and contributing to society.
  19. What was your favorite moment on tour?
    I visualized many places that would help inspire me to finish the Tour; some of these are my favorite moments from the tour.  I thought about the Great Wall of China and visualized myself in a wheelchair, pushing up one of the highest slopes trying to get to one of the highest points.  The one thing I wanted to take away with me, from the tour, was a picture of me sitting on the wall in my chair.  I wanted to be able to hang that picture up somewhere at home as a reminder, that there are no walls in life too great to be climbed.  That if I had done it once I could do it again because I knew there would be many challenges in the future.  I also envisioned the last day of the tour, and my return to Vancouver, and the success of the Tour.  That picture is hanging up at my home.
  20. Why didn’t you go to South America during your Man In Motion World Tour?
    America was in the first draft of the route for the Tour, as was India; however the mileage would have meant wheeling 65,000km instead of 40,000km and would have taken 4 years!  We couldn’t go everywhere and decided on using the circumference of the earth as an appropriate target and a good, natural tie-in.  With that as our guide, we finished the route based on political, geographical and climatic conditions to cover as many countries as possible.
  21. Why didn’t you go to Africa?
    In the final draft of the Tour route we were scheduled to go to the northern tip of Africa, however due to the threat of terrorism the Government of Canada advised that we reroute.
  22. Would you go on your tour again?
    Not at this time in my life.  My wife Amanda and I are fortunate to have 3 young daughters, and I believe that the time I spend with them is the most important thing I can spend my time doing.
  23. What impact do you feel the Man in Motion World Tour had on Canada and how has it changed the lives of people with disabilities?

    The goal of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour was to raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities and funds to support spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation, wheelchair sport and awareness.  Many Canadians were excited by this idea and this encouraged them to make a difference by volunteering with their time, energy and support. The Tour raised over $26 million dollars and brought people of all ages and abilities in concert on a much broader concept: dreams can be accomplished through focus, determination and hard work.  The Tour touched every one of us.  People with disabilities were inspired to pursue their own dreams, while millions more saw the potential that lives within the human spirit.  Rick believed this new interest could be used to dismantle the physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society. 

    When the Tour finished, Rick was presented with a sign that read, “The end is just the beginning”.  Beyond raising awareness, practices had to be implemented to initiate changes.  The momentum of the Tour sparked the establishment of National Access Awareness Week (NAAW), held the last weekend in May into the first week of June yearly.  The week is intended to provide Canadians with an opportunity to improve community access for all people with disabilities.  This includes increased employment, improved transportation and better access to education, recreation and housing.  NAAW continues to be celebrated in communities across Canada, focusing attention on, and facilitating changes to the barriers that stand in the way of people with disabilities reaching their full potential.

    Today, the dream behind the Man In Motion World Tour continues.  Rick and his team work to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injury and to support research to find a cure.  Rick’s work to date has made an impact of over $245 million to the field of spinal cord injury.
  24. How many wheelchairs did you use on the Tour?
    During the tour, we used a number or chairs, some specially made like the 4 wheel drive chair that I used to come across Canada in the middle of winter.  We wore out 160 wheelchair tires.
  25. What was the diameter of the wheel of Mr. Hansen’s wheelchair from the original Man in Motion tour?
    Rick used a number of different sized wheels on his chair during the Man In Motion World Tour depending on the elevation and terrain.  For example, if Rick was crossing flat terrain he would typically use a 700cm wheel with a 10-11inch push rim which would be a marathon type wheel.  If he was going up a steep hill, he would use a 25 inch wheel with a 20 inch push rim.  He had 26 inch wheels and even a 20 inch wheel on his 4 wheel drive winter chair to come across Canada through the snow.
  26. What about going to China?

    Having received a moderate response to the Tour for 13 grueling months on the road, Rick and his team wheeled into China.  It was there that Rick’s dream of the Tour truly took flight.

    The Chinese people came out by the thousands – in some cases the tens of thousands – to greet them and to celebrate the spirit of the Tour and what Rick and his team were trying to accomplish.

    For years prior to the Tour Rick had seen the Great Wall as the ultimate challenge and as the quintessential symbol that there are no barriers to great to overcome.

    Images of him wheeling up the wall were broadcast around the globe – it was those images that first captured the imagination of Canadians back home where support then started to mount.

    The warm welcome and outpouring of support by the Chinese people continues to be one of Rick’s most treasured memories of the entire Tour. Their enthusiasm re-energized the team and brought new-found confidence that all of their hard work was going to make a difference and affect change.

    The support of the Chinese people was lead largely by Deng Pufang and his circle of influence.

    In a country where persons with a disability had been greatly marginalized, it was Deng Pufang that dedicated his life to their cause, creating the China Welfare Fund for the Disabled and then the China Disabled Persons’ Federation. In that regard, Deng and Rick’s calling to make a difference have been very much aligned.

    Ricks ascent of the Great Wall in China and his epic World Tour became legend in China.

    He returned to China for the 10th Anniversary of the Man In Motion World Tour and climbed the Great Wall on that occasion – and visited Deng Pufang. The symbolism of the Wall continues to ground him in his belief that anything is possible – and that there are no barriers to great to overcome. He keeps a photo of himself at the top of the Wall from 1986 as a reminder of that powerful moment on his journey – it remains a source of personal motivation and inspiration.

     He returned to China for a third time, recently, to visit Deng Pufang and to experience firsthand the extraordinary progress they have made as a nation. He is eager to extend the extraordinary work underway in Canada and to partner with China on a variety of initiatives; to build on the legacy born 25 years ago as he continues to pursue his dream for an inclusive world and a cure for SCI.
  27. Why was the name of the tour “Man In Motion”?

    Inspired by the dream of a world accessible and inclusive for all, and a passion to make a difference in the lives of others, Rick set out on a journey, his legendary Man In Motion World Tour, on March 21, 1985. Ultimately Rick wheeled more than 40,000km through 34 countries, raising $26 million for SCI research and quality of life programs. Before the tour started, there was planning to do.  Once Rick had his dream crystallized, goals set, and team organized, they started looking for opportunities.  Expo 86 was one of those opportunities.

    In 1980, the International Bureau of Expositions awarded Vancouver the World Exposition 1986. The spirit of Expo 86 was to be “Man in Motion” and the theme Transportation and Communication. By the time Rick and his team were planning the World Tour, the details for Expo 86 were being developed and promoted – the Expo theme was a wonderful fit.  Rick and his team approached Expo officials to see if there were opportunities to work together. Expo officials were looking for international promotional vehicles to communicate that Expo was happening, and thought they could be a sponsor for the Tour. Expo 86 provided a press opportunity for the Man In Motion World Tour and presented Rick with an Expo 86 license plate, officially endorsing the Tour theme as Man In Motion. Later Expo supported the Tour with contacts in foreign countries and donations from the Expo 86 fountains.
  28. Did you only travel by wheelchair? Did you have to take a boat or plane at all to get through the 34 countries?
    The mileage of the tour was calculated with the distance I actually wheeled in my wheelchair. To get to different continents and over water we took planes, trains, ferries, automobiles.
  29. How long did it take you to go across Canada?
    I came back to Canada in August 1986 and wheeled 13 861 kilometers across the country from east to west. It took me nine months. It was a hard time as I had to push my wheelchair through snow during the winter, but I was delighted to reach Vancouver on May 22, 1987. The whole Man In Motion Tour going round the world had taken two years, two months and two days.
  1. Why is the Rick Hansen School Program important?
  1. Why is the Rick Hansen School Program important?
    I believe the Rick Hansen School Program will help teach kids some of the important lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. Lessons about helping others, making a difference in your community and persevering to make dreams a reality. I believe that by working together, we can accomplish some pretty great things.
    I can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I not had the benefit of some incredible role models. When I was young, people took the time to explain the importance of personal achievement and determination to me. I have first-hand experience of people making a difference in my life, and I want to help kids to understand that they can make a difference too.
    One of the most important things I’ve learned, we can all impact the lives of people around us every day. You may not even know when you’ve made that difference, but believe me, it happens!
  • President and CEO, Rick Hansen Foundation (1997–Present)
  • National Fellow, Rick Hansen National Fellow Programme, University of British Columbia (1990–Present)
  • Consultant on Disability Issues to the President, University of British Columbia (1989–1991)
  • Commissioner General to Canada Pavilion at World Exposition '88 in Brisbane, Australia (1987–1988)
  • Memberships
  • Member, Living Rivers Trust Fund Advisory Board (2005–Present)
  • Interim Chair, Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society (2000–Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Rick Hansen Institute (1997–Present)
  • Chair, Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (1996–Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Rick Hansen Foundation (1993–1999)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation (1992–2000)
  • International Advisory Committee for Globe '92, Congress and Exposition on the Environment (1991–1992)
  • Chair, International Committee on Integration of Disabled Athletes (Renamed: Commission for the Inclusion of Athletes with Disabilities) (1990–Present)
  • Chair, Advisory Committee of the Disability Resource Centre, University of British Columbia (1990–1997)
  • Chair, Independence 92 - International Congress and Exposition on Disability, Vancouver, British Columbia (1990–1992)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Nike Canada (1989–2004)
  • Partner/Advisor, National Access Awareness Week, Canada (1989–1999)
  • International Advisory Committee for Globe '90, Congress and Exposition on the Environment (1989–1990)
  • Member, Board of Governors, 1994 Commonwealth Games, Victoria (1989–1994)
  • Advisory Panel, Man In Motion Legacy Trust Fund (1987–Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Man In Motion World Tour Society (1987–1992)
  • Member, Board of Directors (Honorary), Man In Motion World Tour (1986–1987)

Awards and honours

  • Special Achievement Award, University of British Columbia (1979–1982)
  • "Outstanding Athlete of the Year," by Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association (1980)
  • Lou Marsh/Canadian Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award; co-winner, Wayne Gretzky (1983)
  • Outstanding Young Person of the World for personal improvement and accomplishment by Junior Chamber International (1983)
  • University of British Columbia's Alumni Award of Distinction (1983)
  • Athlete of the Week: by ABC Wide World of Sports (1983)
  • British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, W.A.C. Bennett Award (1983)
  • Newsmaker of the Year by Canadian Press (1986)
  • Companion of the Order of Canada (29 June 1987)
  • Order of British Columbia (1990)
  • Terry Fox Hall of Fame (1993)
  • W.A.C. Bennett Award (BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum) (1994)
  • Induction into Canada Sports Hall of FameCanada's Sports Hall of Fame (2006)
  • Canada's Walk of Fame (2007)
  • Recipient of CPA Alberta's Christopher Reeve Award (2007)
  • UBC Sports Hall of Fame
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Alberta (2011)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Vancouver Island University (2009)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Carleton University (2009)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Simon Fraser University (2008)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Northern British Columbia (2008)
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, Thompson Rivers University, Williams Lake Campus(2007)
  • William Van Horne Visionary Award (2006)
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, McGill University (2005)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, McMaster University (1999)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Western Ontario (1997)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Regina (1997)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Toronto (1995)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Victoria (1994)
  • Royal Bank Award (1994)
  • University of British Columbia Athletic Hall of Fame (1994)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Saint Mary's University (1993)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, UBC (1987)
  • People In Motion, a not-for-profit organisation was after Hansen
  • Four public schools have been named after Hansen:
    1. Rick Hansen Secondary School, Abbotsford, British Columbia
    2. Rick Hansen Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario
    3. Rick Hansen Elementary School, London, Ontario
    4. Rick Hansen Public School, Aurora, Ontario
  • Order of Canada

    Rick was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada on June 29, 1987. His citation reads: Already a world-renowned wheelchair athlete, this British-Columbian fulfilled a dream of wheeling around the world to make others aware of the potential of the disabled and to raise funds for spinal cord research among other things. His 44,000 km. journey, recently completed, took him to four continents and 33 countries, inspiring people around the world to realize their potential and raising many millions of dollars for the cause.

  • Honorary appointments
    • Honorary Director, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (2002)
    • Honorary Board member, Think First Foundation (1998–2000)
    • Honorary Chair, Brain and Spinal Cord Research Centre Campaign, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia (1995)
    • Honorary Patron, B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (1995–Present)
    • Honorary Chair, Grey Cup Festival (1994)
    • Honorary Chair, Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability (1990–Present)
    • Honorary Chair, Alberta Premier's Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities (1989–Present)
    • Honorary Chair, BC Premier's Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities (1989–Present)
  • Rick was named Commissioner General for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo '88 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In 1986, a township in Sudbury District, Ontario, previously named the Geographical Township of Stalin, altered its name to the Township of Hansen in the athlete's honour. It is now within the boundary of the municipality of Killarney.