First of 7,000 Relay Medal-Bearers is 13-year-old NL local difference maker Jacob Manning
Cape Spear, NL -Twenty-five years to the date of his Man In Motion World Tour commencing its cross-Canada journey, Rick Hansen returned to Newfoundland and Labrador to realize a new dream: the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay. This time, one Man In Motion will be represented and celebrated by many in motion, as 7,000 participants from across Canada who have made a difference in their own communities and in the lives of others will walk, wheel or run in the nine-month, 12,000 kilometre Relay that retraces the route of Rick's original Tour.
"Today is a momentous occasion for myself, my family and the Rick Hansen Foundation," said Rick Hansen. "This is day one of a nine-month journey for 7,000 Canadians and the opportunity to recognize local difference makers - all of whom have played a role in producing an impact for positive change in this country. This is the start of a new journey, where together, we channel our energy with the same drive and determination that fuelled the original Tour to realize a cure for paralysis after spinal cord injury, and create healthier and more accessible communities across the country."
Hansen began the day with an event at the Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada, with location access provided by Parks Canada. Presenting Partner Nike revealed the participant uniforms that will be worn by all 7,000 Medal-Bearers, as well as the uniforms worn by Rick Hansen Relay staff. Presenting Partner McDonald's, whose customers raised $1.5 million from coast-to-coast on Rick's original Tour, were also present for the start of this new journey. Official Supplier Honda then unveiled their vehicles that will be driven across the country as a part of the Relay convoy, including the Honda Pilot, Odyssey, Ridgeline and Acura MDX.
With the Rick Hansen Foundation on the precipice of a Relay that will engage over 600 communities from coast-to-coast for 273 days, municipal, provincial and federal government involvement is integral to the Relay's success in addition to its corporate partners. As such, Hansen was also joined by Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale, Lieutenant Governor John Crosbie, St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe and McDonald's of Canada's Chief Financial Officer David Hederson.
"The Rick Hansen Man In Motion Tour was a pivotal event in raising awareness of the capabilities of persons with disabilities," said Premier Kathy Dunderdale. "I am delighted that Rick is coming back to Newfoundland and Labrador to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the tour. The 25th Anniversary Relay will not only recognize those who give of their time to enhance the lives of others, it will continue to raise awareness of the importance of accessibility and inclusion for all, while also honouring the legacy of the original tour 25 years ago."
Among the prominent supporters from all levels of government, the Relay's launch brought with it a touch of nostalgia for The Honourable John C. Crosbie - who in addition to being a steadfast supporter of the Rick Hansen Foundation since its inception, was also in attendance at the Cape Spear event in 1986. His Honour is also scheduled to participate in the Relay as a Medal-Bearer from Water Street to Clift's-Baird's Cove on day one.
"Between Newfoundland and British Columbia there is no better cause nor person than Rick who we met at Cape Spear in 1986 and supported then as we do now in Ottawa and in his activities since," said Lieutenant Governor John C. Crosbie. "My wife [Mrs. Jane Furneaux Crosbie] and I are here in Cape Spear to support you with this great cause the entire way, and as they say, 'long may his big jib draw!'"
To set the Relay in motion, Hansen put the Relay medal - designed by the Royal Canadian Mint and to be passed across the country by all 7,000 participants - over the shoulders of 13-year-old Jacob Manning from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador. Manning was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February 2008, which caused him to change his perception of what it means to be healthy. A committed volunteer in his community, he now encourages youth to stay fit and lead active lifestyles, and participates in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes each year. Inspired by Rick Hansen's attitude to live a healthy and active lifestyle, Manning was chosen to run in the Rick Hansen Relay after entering the online contest to participate at RickHansenRelay.com. Manning chose to run in the Relay in honour of his grandmother, Julia Manning, who passed away recently and spent the latter stage of her life in a wheelchair. He credits his grandmother and his Diabetic Camp counselors as his own personal difference makers. Following his 250 metre segment, Manning then passed the Rick Hansen Medal to Mel Fitzgerald, who competed with Rick Hansen in the wheelchair athletics event at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, and was also present in Cape Spear 25 years ago.
"When I learned about Rick Hansen, I discovered that he's a very strong person - both on the outside and inside," said Manning. "When his accident happened he turned a negative into a positive, and adjusted himself to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Rick Hansen made his story loud and clear all over the world that no matter what challenges we have to face in life, we can be healthy and active and make a difference, and I hope to do something like that as well."
The first day of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay will see 56 Medal-Bearers of all ages pass the Rick Hansen Medal from Cape Spear to St. John's. The Relay will conclude at 3:30pm NDT following an event at 3:00pm NDT, which will be hosted by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).
Day two of the Relay begins at 8:45am NL (7:15am EST / 4:15am PST) with a breakfast at Canadian Forces Station St. John's, before the Relay picks-up from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
25th Anniversary Relay Fast Facts:
- Begins on August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador and concludes in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 22, 2012
- Fully retraces the original Man In Motion cross-Canada tour, spanning 12,000 kilometres
- Will travel through over 600 communities, visit every capital city and all provinces and territories and reach more than 70% of the Canadian population
- Will engage approximately 7,000 participants - difference makers in their own right - who will collectively cover an average of 40 to 80 kilometres a day, making their way across the country passing a singular Rick Hansen Medal to the next participant
- All Canadians (13 years and up) will be able to apply to become a participant through the online contest at RickHansenRelay.com. The online contest is now closed for Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. The contest closes for Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan on October 26, 2011 and on December 28, 2011 for British Columbia.
The following items will be available in the Backgrounders section of the Media Centre on rickhansenrelay.com: Relay route map, full list of communities and dates, list of all Medal-Bearers and Media Highlight Sheets (1 per day).
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Broadcast quality b-roll video clips of the start of the Relay will be available via Canada News Wire (CNW) after 5:00pm NDT (2:00pm EST / 12:30pm PST). If you are not viewing this release via CNW you can find assets at CNW (Video) by searching the key words "Rick Hansen."
Photographs of the Rick Hansen Medal, the 25th Anniversary international trips and images of Rick's original Man In Motion World Tour are available within the Media Centre on RickHansenRelay.com - photographs from the first day of the Relay will also be available after 5:00pm NDT.
About the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay:
Beginning on August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay will retrace the Canadian segment of the original Man In Motion World Tour, traveling 12,000 kilometres, through 600 communities and concluding in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 22, 2012. This time, one will inspire many in motion; engaging 7,000 participants from across Canada who have made their own difference in the lives of others. Please visit RickHansenRelay.com for more information.
About the Rick Hansen Foundation:
The Rick Hansen Foundation is a registered charitable organization that provides leadership to accelerate progress toward a more healthy, sustainable and inclusive world. The Foundation achieves its goals by connecting the people and resources that make innovation possible. Please visit www.RickHansen.com for more information.
About Our Sponsors:
A project of the scope and scale of the 25th Anniversary and Rick Hansen Relay could not be possible without the tremendous support from our partners. Our sponsor's involvement - be it financial, operational or through the provision of services - is crucial to our goal of celebrating everyday Canadians' contributions to their communities and inspiring the next generation of difference makers.
Presenting Partners: McDonald's, Nike | Official Broadcaster: CTV | Official Suppliers: Air Canada, The Globe and Mail, Honda, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Postmedia Network Inc., the Royal Canadian Mint, Scotiabank.
For more information:
Rick Hansen Foundation
John Gibson (in Cape Spear on Aug 24)
Rick Hansen Foundation
Lisa Clement(in Cape Spear on Aug 24)
On the Road Relay Media Relations Information:
Twitter: @RHRelayMedia | http://twitter.com/rhrelaymedia
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