Rick Hansen Celebrates the Beginning of the 25th Anniversary of his Man In
Motion World Tour

Canada's Man In Motion launches the Rick Hansen Institute

VANCOUVER, March 21 /CNW/ - Twenty-five years ago today, Rick Hansen and his team departed Oakridge Mall with a dream: to wheel around the world to make communities more accessible and inclusive for all and to raise funds for spinal cord injury (SCI) research.

When the Tour returned home to Vancouver, two years, two months and two days later, they had raised an incredible $26 million for SCI, and more importantly, awareness about the potential of people with disabilities.

Twenty-five years later, Rick Hansen pays tribute to the people who helped him during the most difficult part of his journey - the beginning.

"I am incredibly grateful to the people who stepped up to help me start the Tour," says Rick. "I know that without their support and their belief in my dream, I would never have been able to accomplish my goal."

Today, as President & CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF), Rick's commitment to his original vision and the continued journey remain strong. Under Rick's leadership, the Foundation has been successful in bringing the spinal cord injury (SCI) community together to find innovative solutions and accelerate progress towards a cure. The Foundation has generated $200 million towards the field of SCI and has galvanized tremendous advancements in the areas of research and quality of life for people with SCI and related disabilities.

In the spirit of the original Tour, Rick is proud to announce the creation of the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI), which is positioned to grow globally through the 25th Anniversary. RHI will connect people and countries around the world in order to make significant contributions towards SCI research and care. The Rick Hansen Foundation will support RHI and will launch an ambitious $200M 25th Anniversary campaign to generate resources for the Institute and other innovations that support the cause.

"Just as I started out on a journey 25 years ago today, the Institute is now poised to begin its journey," says Rick. "And we are committed to working with RHI as it gains momentum to connect with the world and realize its goals of minimizing disability, maximizing quality of life, and finding a cure for SCI."

On this important anniversary, Rick acknowledged the support his Foundation has received from Governments across the country, with special thanks to the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, who have shared in the dream since the beginning. Rick thanked Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Gordon Campbell for the ongoing commitment and financial contributions in support of the 25th Anniversary of his Tour and the establishment of RHI. He also acknowledged and thanked the millions of Canadians who supported the Tour and continue to believe in his dream.

"Today is a proud moment of reflection and gratitude, filled with great hope for the future," said Rick. "I am so appreciative of the people who continue to support me in my work. I truly believe my best work is in front of me."

More about the 25th Anniversary Campaign:

Today, March 21, 2010, marks the beginning of the 25th Anniversary campaign, which will continue for 26 months and culminate on May 22, 2012 - the day Rick completed the Tour. The campaign will include: a national celebration to engage all Canadians, the launch of a global accessibility initiative and rating tool, the launch of RHI and a global conference - Interdependence 2012 - to be held in Vancouver in May 2012, which will bring together leaders to share their commitment, innovation and knowledge in the areas of accessibility and a cure for SCI.

SOURCE RICK HANSEN MAN IN MOTION FOUNDATION

For further information: For further information: To arrange an interview, or for more information, please contact: Erin McMillan, Snr. Specialist, Marketing & Communications, Rick Hansen Foundation, (778) 296-1520, (778) 229-7532 (cell), emcmillan@rickhansen.com

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RICK HANSEN MAN IN MOTION FOUNDATION

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