RHF Ambassador Jeff Bourne is passionate about changing the way people with disabilities are viewed. He was inspired by Rick Hansen as a child growing up in New York and California and was eager to support the foundation and share Rick's message that "anything is possible." In April of 1998 he moved to Kelowna B.C., which he has called home ever since.
Jeff comes from a sports oriented family— his dad having played in the NHL for 14 years and his brother playing five years in the ECHL/AHL. Through this he developed a love for sports early on in life. Jeff is an avid sledge hockey player, but in the past he has also played wheelchair basketball. His other passions include camping and fishing, or anything associated with the outdoors. He is currently living semi-independently, in a two bedroom townhouse.
Jeff believes there has been incredible progress in changing perceptions of people with disabilities, yet there is still a lot of work to be done. He would also like to change how kids view their classmates and peers with disabilities, and help put an end to the bullying.
1. Describe yourself in five words.
Independent, loyal, determined, honest, and generous.
2. What are you most passionate about?
My passions include sledge hockey, camping, fishing, my church, my family and friends.
3. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in the world it would be how disabled children are viewed by their peers at school. I was bullied as a kid, but not nearly as badly as the bullying is today. I think if we change how kids think about their fellow disabled students and peers, this problem can be eliminated.
4. What is your favourite quote?
My favourite quote is “anything is possible”- Rick Hansen
5. Describe a challenge you have overcome?
I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve had between 35 to 40 surgeries, so I’ve really lost count of the number of things I’ve had to overcome. The way I’ve dealt with the challenges is just to lean on my family, faith, and friends and take it one day at a time. Together with them I knew that I would get through anything I’ve had to face. The way I look at it is that life is filled with highs and lows— you just have to hang on through the lows and enjoy the highs.
6. If you could remove one barrier what would it be?
I’ve seen a lot of barriers removed in my life due to awareness. The one thing I would still like to see removed is the barrier to accessible employment for people with disabilities.
7. What are you most grateful for?
The things I’m most grateful for are, my family my friends, my church and my amazingly accessible town house I’ve lived in since 2001.