Rick Hansen has dedicated his life to removing barriers and creating an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential. While he’s best known as the “Man In Motion”, Rick’s life, story, and career have always been a demonstration of hope,inspiration and awakening the world to the potential of people with disabilities. As Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation, Rick’s leadership initiatives are inclusive of accessibility, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) cures and research and extend into his personal passion of conservation.
Rick is committed to pushing forward ideas and actions that contribute to creating a healthy, accessible and inclusive world for all.
Rick’s work as Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation is driven by a vision of an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential. Together, we are raising awareness, changing attitudes and removing physical barriers in the places where we live, work, learn and play.
For the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification TM (RHFAC) program, that means delivering a national innovative solution to help measure, celebrate and ultimately improve accessibility within the built environment. To date, over 1,250 sites have been rated across the country, and our goal is that RHFAC will be adopted as a leading standard of access in the built environment internationally. Through the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program, we also bring Rick’s message of inclusion, accessibility and making a difference to Canada’s next generation. By providing free, bilingual lessons plans and activities created by educators for teachers and parents, along with Ambassador presentations that put a face to disability, together we empower students to become leaders in accessibility and inclusion. We continue to develop new, interactive resources that can be used both here and around the globe.
As Founder, Rick dedicates his time where it has maximum impact as a key advocate for change. He frequently engages audiences in public appearances that raise awareness on the topic of accessibility and inclusion. Rick does not accept speaking fees personally, and directs all fees to the Rick Hansen Foundation and other ongoing leadership initiatives.
For over three decades, the Rick Hansen Foundation has been creating and delivering innovative solutions that lead to a global movement to remove barriers, change attitudes and raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. With Rick’s support and leadership, we are working towards a world where everyone can go everywhere.
One of the dreams that fueled Rick to embark on his Man In Motion World Tour was the desire to find a cure for paralysis after spinal cord injury (SCI). His original dream transformed into a vision shared by millions of people across the globe.
For over three decades, Rick and the Rick Hansen Foundation have supported innovative research for the cure and care of persons with SCI. This leadership in collaboration with other organizations, government and funders, has resulted in significant achievements including creation of:
- the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) one of the most interdisciplinary SCI research programs in the world;
- the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre – a state-of-the-art SCI research and care facility. Technologically advanced, universally accessible and designed to foster dialogue and collaboration across disciplines, the BSCC allows people with SCI to see all the professionals they need to, in one location, in one day;
- the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry – a major platform to support clinical trials conducted across Canada and internationally;
- The Praxis Spinal Cord Institute – a world leader in collaborative SCI research.
While great strides have been made over the past 30 years, much more still needs to be done. Rick and the Rick Hansen Foundation remain committed to improved quality of life for persons living with SCI and Rick’s original dream of “the possible” - a world without paralysis.
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 after a truck accident on his way home from a fishing trip. Following his injury, Rick used adapted equipment to venture out on fishing trips with family and friends. Spending time on the water and out in nature was therapeutic for Rick, and it reconnected him with his childhood passion and affirmed that he was still an adventurer.
As a result of his life experience, conservation of sturgeon and salmon ecosystems have been a strong priority for Rick throughout his life. For over 20 years, Rick has been an advocate of environmental stewardship. He has worked closely with government, fisheries scientists, enforcement personnel, students and academics, plus commercial, sport, and aboriginal fishermen to ensure that these species have a healthy future.
Rick’s leadership in sturgeon and salmon conservation are reflected through his roles as founding and current Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, past Board Chair of the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society, past board member of the Living Rivers Trust Fund Advisory Group, and a leader in working with other champions to establish the Rivers Inlet Salmon Initiative.