Rick Hansen invites Canadians to join him in honouring difference makers

Rick inspires new generation to pay-it-forward

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2011 /CNW/ - Rick Hansen today joined an outstanding line-up of remarkable leaders dedicated to inspiring and motivating a new generation to make a difference in the world. As a guest speaker at We Day in Toronto, ON, Rick ignited the imaginations and passions of young people by sharing his personal story of overcoming obstacles and believing in dreams. While Rick's message of hope and optimism paid tribute to the people in his life who have supported him along his journey, the Foundation that bears his name is giving everyday Canadians the opportunity to honour their own difference makers, as part of the 25th Anniversary of the Man In Motion World Tour.

"I've learned that with the help of others, we all have the ability to accomplish great things," said Rick Hansen. "I am tremendously grateful to my friends and family - and to all Canadians - who have continued to support my journey. During the 25th Anniversary, I am honoured to recognize all those who have made a difference in the lives of others by helping us realize a cure for paralysis after spinal cord injury and create healthier, more inclusive communities."

Rick's message of honouring difference makers follows the recent launch of the Rick Hansen Foundation's Virtual Medal fundraising campaign, designed to celebrate and honour Canadians who are making a difference in the lives of others. The Virtual Medal was inspired by the Rick Hansen Medal - designed by the Royal Canadian Mint - which is being carried across the country by 7,000 difference makers in the 25th Anniversary Relay. The Virtual Medal campaign invites Canadians to join Rick in honouring difference makers by passing a Medal to the people who have supported, helped or shown kindness to them along the way.

Based on the premise that small acts can make a big difference, Virtual Medals are available for a donation of just $5 each at www.rickhansen.com/virtualmedal. Medals will be delivered to difference makers via email, or through Facebook, accompanied by a personalized message from the sender.  Proceeds from Virtual Medal donations will support the work of the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) in the areas of spinal cord injury (SCI) research, accessibility initiatives, and quality of life programs for people living with a disability. RHF has been successful in leveraging the $26M raised during Rick's original Man In Motion World Tour to more than $245M in support of a cure for paralysis after SCI and a healthier, more inclusive world.

"As part of my continued journey, I'm inviting Canadians to honour those who have made a difference in their lives," said Rick.  "Difference makers are all around us - they can be teachers, relatives, friends, colleagues, or even organizations. Passing this Medal is one way to thank those individuals - to share their stories - and to celebrate all they have done to help you on your journey."

Since the launch of the 25th Anniversary on March 21, 2010, Rick and the Foundation have been celebrating the progress that has been achieved in SCI research, and recognizing the improvements that have been made in the lives of people living with SCI.  As the Foundation continues to honour the people, programs and partnerships that are moving us closer to a cure for SCI, and a world that is healthy and inclusive to all, it also seeks to inspire a new generation of difference makers who will help to create future legacies that will build a better world.

About the Rick Hansen Foundation:

In 1987, following the Man In Motion World Tour (MIMWT), Rick established the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) to continue his quest for an accessible and inclusive society and a cure for spinal cord injury (SCI). Under Rick's leadership, RHF functions as a social innovator - finding collaborative solutions to challenges in the community and the resources necessary to implement those solutions. RHF has been successful in leveraging the original $26M raised during the MIMWT to more than $245M in support of people, programs and research in pursuit of a healthier and more inclusive world. As part of the 25th Anniversary campaign, the Rick Hansen Foundation has launched a national public fundraising campaign to support ongoing programs and initiatives.  For ways to get involved, or to make a donation, please visit www.rickhansen.com.

SOURCE Rick Hansen Foundation

For further information:

Erin Labbé
Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Rick Hansen Foundation
778.296.1520 778.229.7532 (cell)

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