Rick Hansen

Alina Farooq

The Man In Motion

Rick Hansen is an inspirational Canadian leader that lead by example to inspire others to create an inclusive world for everyone, no matter their differences. He spread awareness about people with disabilities and raised 26 million dollars in his Man In Motion World Tour. He inspired everyone to believe in themselves and accomplish the extraordinary. He currently has his own foundation The Rick Hansen Foundation, and is still working towards his goal of improving lives of people with disabilities. He changed the way the world accommodates those like him by spreading awareness and believing in equality.
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How It Began

Rick Hansen is a inspirational Canadian leader who led by example and gave hope to people all around the world. His entire life changed when he was fifteen years old and he was involved in a tragic accident. Rick and his friend Don Alder were riding in the back of a pickup truck when the truck went off the road and ended up with both of the boys being thrown out the back. Rick Hansen obtained a spinal cord injury due to this accident and learned that he would never be able to walk again. Rick was completely devastated from this news and wondered how he would ever be able to play sports again, or even live his everyday life. He had seven months of rehabilitation in Vancouver and eventually learned to live with his disability , but he faced many challenges and immense hardships along the way. He was very determined and continued to do all the things he liked to do before and challenged himself to accomplish more. He turned to competing in sports where he could participate. Between 1979 and 1984 Rick won nineteen international wheel chair track marathons, and several world titles and medals in the Pan Am Games of 1982 and in the Paralympic Summer Games. Rick wanted to do more than just compete in competitions, he wanted to encourage others who had similar disabilities as him to accomplish what they though was impossible.


The real beginning of his leadership was on March,2,1985 when he took his visions of creating healthy and inclusive communities and pushed his wheelchair out of Vancouver B.C. to begin his two year journey, The Man In Motion tour.

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What He Did

Rick Hansen began his Man In Motion World Tour on March,22,1985 with nothing but a vision and his family of supporters. This was a two year journey that would inspire thousands of people around the world along the way. He was going to travel around the world on his wheelchair to prove to others they can accomplish the impossible.Rick's goal was to prove the potential of people with disabilities and make communities more accessible and inclusive. Rick also wanted to help find a cure to spinal cord injury. Losing his legs at such a young age forced Rick to re-imagine the goals he aimed to achieve in his life. At the time their was barely any awareness about people with difficulties like him, and only a small percentage of buildings were wheelchair accessible. It was with this thought that he realized how people with disabilities were treated differently by society. Rick came up with the idea for the tour as his athletic career progressed, as he became more successful he believed he could actually accomplish it. Rick received a lot of guidance from people close to him like his coach Tim Frick, his love Amanda Reid, and his good friend Terry Fox. They inspired him to reach for his dreams and supported him through out his journey. He wanted to be the person that inspired others just like people had inspired him.


Rick assembled a team to go on the tour with him that was made up of a road crew and home team. Ricks team faced many challenges as they traveled for two years through thirty four countries and four continents. The whole world was following his journey and he received endless amounts of supports, he even met with world leaders along the way.He wheeled the equivalent of two marathons every day before he returned home to Vancouver.Rick was not only able to raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities, he also raised $26 million to support his cause. When Ricks tour ended he realized there was still much more work to do. Many people were inspired by Rick's extraordinary motivation , he helped people realize their potentials and abilities to accomplish their goals and dreams, Rick made many motivational speeches that led to new policies, building codes, and legislation which aimed at making the world more accessible and inclusive. This was not an easy journey though, the team faced many challenges along the way including storms, wildlife, hunger,fires, robberies, and difficult terrains, but they never gave up. Through his hardships and motivation Rick was able to lead others into believing in themselves no matter what others say.


"Anything is possible" - Rick Hansen

Leadership Traits

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Courage is not the absence of fear - it's inspiring others to move beyond it

Rick Hansen wanted people with disabilities like him to come out of their shells and accomplish what others said they couldn't . He wanted to inspire them to be courageous just like him and to not worry about fixing their disabilities but to embrace them and do something more. When Rick first faced his injury, all he could think about was how he would ever be able to live his life like a regular boy again. He loved to play sports and go fishing but thought he was not physically capable to continue doing them. It was after he went through rehabilitation and he pushed himself to get out of his fears that he realized he could accomplish more. That is what he wanted to portray with his entire tour. You have to be courageous and prove others wrong, don't worry about what others think because they don't matter. He wanted people with disabilities to know that it is okay to be afraid but it is not okay to give up.

Lead from the front - but don't leave your base behind

Through out the tour Rick Hansen's tour faced many difficulties but he never left them behind. He could have just continued going as their were many who were willing to support him, but he waited with his team until the problems were resolved.He was always up first ,bright and early in the morning and ready to get started on his journey. He was the motivation his team needed to keep moving along, if he gave up they would give up. There were days where they all felt like they would not be able to go on for much longer, but Rick motivated them to get moving. He did not let the fame get to him, and always believed that they accomplished the most. He believes that his journey would be impossible without them and for that he is thankful. ""I had an amazing team. They challenged, encouraged and supported me and asked nothing in return. I feel incredibly privileged to have had them with me. Without them, the dream would have been absolutely impossible.”- Rick Hansen. Rick always credited his team for the major success of the tour. They faced challenges daily, but with each others support they were always able to reach success.

Appearances matter - and remember to smile

Through out his world tour Rick always made sure to keep positive, and always had a smile on his face. Even if he was going through the most difficult of times he maintained a positive attitude because he knew that dwelling will not resolve anything. You will not find one picture in which he is not gleaming. He spent every meter of that tour spreading positivity around the world. If he were not enthusiastic about his movement it would not be successful because he wouldn't be inspirational. His motivation is what brought everyone one else like him motivation. He provided them with hope and made working for what you believe in look enjoyable. If it were just an average person supporting this cause it would not be as prosperous. His disability and hardship made the entire movement more inspirational and heartwarming. He was the perfect representation of his beliefs.
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Works Cited

"About Rick Hansen." About Rick. Rick Hansen Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.rickhansen.com/About-Us/About-Rick-Hansen>


"Man In Motion World Tour." History of the Man in Motion World Tour 1985-1987. Rick Hansen Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.<http://www.rickhansen.com/About-Us/About-Rick/Man-In-Motion-World-Tour>


"Tour Team." Man in Motion World. Rick Hansen Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.rickhansen.com/About-Us/About-Rick/Man-In-Motion-World-Tour/Tour-Team>


"Rick Hansen – Man In Motion | The Mark of a Leader." The Mark of a Leader RSS. The Mark of A Leader, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015 <http://www.themarkofaleader.com/library/stories/rick-hansen-man-in-motion/>


"A Day on the Road." Of the Man in Motion World Tour. Rick Hansen Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.<http://www.rickhansen.com/About-Us/About-Rick/Man-In-Motion-World-Tour/A-Day-on-the-Road>