Rick Hansen concludes China tour at Hong Kong SCI youth Rally; eleven- day visit results in strengthened international collaboration and celebration for positive social change.

HONG KONG, April 21 /CNW/ - Rick Hansen, Canada's Man In Motion, addressed a stadium of 1,500 Hong Kong youth today in the final leg of his visit to China where he visited Beijing, Shanghai, Shantou and Hong Kong.  The eleven-day trip to China is part of the 25th Anniversary International Program which aims to further international collaboration and partnership agreements in regards to the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR), recognize international achievements in the areas of finding a cure for spinal cord injuries, celebrate the achievements of the last two and a half decades, and engage youth in meaningful dialogue - all while looking to the future in the hopes that all communities can become healthy, accessible and inclusive.

"It's been incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress China has made.  Rights for people with disabilities are translated into policy...and you can also see the positive changes in the built environment," said Rick Hansen, President and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF). "In the past eleven days, we have been fortunate to meet with great scientists, energized youth, spinal cord patients in hospitals, organizations representing persons with disabilities, and medical leaders in China who are now collaborating with The Rick Hansen Foundation and The Rick Hansen Institute.  We are now moving as a global team to share spinal cord research best practices and recognize achievements of individuals who are making a better world in China.  My return to this great country this time has been about the many in motion that are joining me to help forge a path to a healthier and more inclusive world."

"The trip was supported by the Canadian missions in China who showed tremendous support to help the Foundation reach its goals and objectives including ambassador David Mulroney who attended a number of events and activities."

A summary of the full China trip includes:

Youth engagement: With the goal of engaging youth in meaningful global dialogue on how to influence positive social change, Hansen held a symbolic relay at the Great Wall near Beijing on April 12th, with 400 international students, to celebrate and recognize young difference makers who are having an impact in their communities.  Hansen also visited primary through university schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Shantou, while wrapping up his China tour by participating in the Hong Kong SCI fund Youth Rally - a spinal cord injury awareness day.

Cooperative agreements: A key priority for the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Man In Motion World Tour is the goal of securing international partnerships that focus on the global acceleration of progress in the areas of SCI research and positive social change for people with disabilities. Rick Hansen announced three cooperative agreements during his visit to China.

In Beijing, the Rick Hansen Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China disabled Person's Federation (CDPF) to pursue the common goal of advancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and to set the foundation for the future generations to work towards accessible and inclusive communities.

Also in Beijing, the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) signed cooperative agreements with the China Research and Rehabilitation Centre (CRRC) and the Peking University Third Hospital (PUTH), to strengthen cooperative SCI research and rehabilitation initiatives in China.  The main elements of the agreements include: shortening the discovery time for new treatment methods; developing a shared data platform and clinical trials network; and identifying best practises.

Difference Maker Awards: A major component of the 25th Anniversary's international outreach is the Difference Makers program, which aims to recognize individuals who have made a contribution towards a more accessible and inclusive world, those who have furthered discoveries related to a cure for spinal cord injury or recipients who have put service above self to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others.

Difference Makers award recipients from the trip include:

  • The Chinese Disabled Persons' Federation - a national network that serves 83 million people with disabilities, dedicated to improving their quality of life and setting the foundation for more accessible and inclusive communities across the country.
  • The Chinese Research and Rehabilitation Centre - the leading provider of medical rehabilitation services in China, the work of the CRRC has enriched and enhanced the SCI research community in China, but also around the world, thanks to the organization's commitment to international collaboration.
  • Mr. Shi Derong - Chairman of the Board, Shanghai Guosheng Group Co, Ltd. His efforts have assisted in changing the societal perception of people with disabilities while creating greater accessibility and inclusivity in communities.
  • Mr. Ajmal Samuel - Chief Executive Officer ASAP Transaction Processing Corporation Limited. He has been a tireless advocate in raising awareness about issues that affect people with disabilities in Hong Kong.
  • Ms. Suzanne Poon - member of Advisory Board for the Hong Kong University SCI Fund, and Chair of the Hong Kong SCI Fund fundraising committee. Ms. Poon is an active volunteer and fundraiser who has exemplified "service above self."
  • Mr. Kwok Fai So - Chair Professor and Head of Department, Jessie Ho Professor in Neuroscience,  Department of Anatomy University of Hong Kong, and Co-Chair of the Hong Kong University SCI Fund. He continues to inspire the next generation, training researchers who will go on to develop the innovations of tomorrow.

The fourth and final trip of the Rick Hansen Foundation's international outreach will take place in the US from June 20 to 27, visiting New York, Washington, DC, and Miami.

About the Rick Hansen Foundation:

The Rick Hansen Foundation is a registered charitable organization that provides leadership to create more accessible and inclusive communities for people with a spinal cord injury, and supports the search for a cure.  The Foundation achieves its goals by connecting the people and resources that make innovation possible.  Please visit www.rickhansen.com for more information.

About the Rick Hansen Foundation's 25th Anniversary:

The Rick Hansen Foundation is currently celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man In Motion World Tour, and the extraordinary progress that has been made in the fields of accessibility and spinal cord injury advancement since. Over the two year anniversary period (March 21, 2010 - May 22, 2012) a number of programs and events will be unveiled to inspire others to dream big, recognize difference makers, create lasting and sustainable legacies and change the world, one good turn at a time. For more information please visit www.rickhansenrelay.com.

SOURCE Rick Hansen Foundation

For further information:

Robin Russell
Rick Hansen Foundation
Email: rrussell@rickhansen.com

Mobile: 604-644-2785

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