Rick Hansen Relay rolling through Boundary

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
April 20th, 2012

Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway, Rock Creek and Beaverdell are all on the Rick Hansen Relay for Life 25th Anniversary tour next week.

The original Man in Motion tour began when Rick Hansen, a British Columbian who suffered from a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident, wanted to raise money for spinal cord research and awareness for people with disabilities. He began the tour in 1985 and ended it 26 months later after covering 34 countries, 40,000 kilometres and raising $26 million for spinal cord research.

The 25th Anniversary tour began on August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Kootenay Boundary portion of the tour begins on Thursday, April 26 in Christina Lake.

Christina Lake: Thursday, April 26 at 2 p.m.

The relay team is scheduled to arrive at the Christina Lake Welcome Centre at 2 p.m. where the five runners from Christina Lake will be celebrated, including a Grade 7 student from Christina Lake Elementary School. The entire elementary school is expected to attend the event. The relay team will be treated to a lunch before moving on to Grand Forks.

Grand Forks: Thursday, April 26 at 4:30 p.m.

In Grand Forks the eight to ten members of the relay team will leave Highway 3 and travel along 68th Street to 2nd Street, Riverside Drive, Market Avenue, 5th Street and back out onto Central Avenue. It will end at the Grand Forks Aquatic Centre at about 4:30 p.m. where there will be an award presentation with Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor.

“I think it’s important because he’s done so much for spinal research and he’s come a long way in promoting an awareness (of the issues facing) people confined to wheelchairs,” said Lilly Bryant, volunteer organizer of the Grand Forks relay event.

Greenwood: Saturday, April 28 at 9:30 a.m.

The tour will continue to Greenwood on Saturday, April 28 after a one day layover in Grand Forks. They are scheduled to arrive in Greenwood at 9:11 a.m. and local participants will weave their way through town, arriving at the Greenwood Visitor Information Centre at 9:30 a.m. for a five minute community stop before continuing onto Midway.

Midway: Saturday, April 28 at 9:54 a.m.

The relay is expected to arrive in Midway at 9:54 a.m. on Saturday, April 28 weave through town and end at the Midway Community Center for a 30 minute break and celebration before continuing on to Rock Creek.

“I think it is such a unique way to participate,” said Jenny Simmonds, who is running a 250 meter leg of the relay in Midway.

“Living in a small community, my chance to participate was greater, so I seized the opportunity to be apart of something very Canadian and very historical.”

Simmonds won’t be alone. There are two other runners besides herself and she is 25 weeks pregnant, so her baby is along for the ride too.

12,000 kms and 7,000 Canadians

The Rick Hansen Relay for Life 25th Anniversary tour, with the help of 7,000 other Canadians, is retracing the 12,000 kilometre, 600 community original Canadian tour. The relay participants have been chosen through an online contest and based on how much they have personally strived to make a difference in the lives of others. Each medal bearer will carry the special Rick Hansen Medal, which was produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, while running, walking, wheeling or biking their 250 meter section of the route.

While Rick Hansen is not in the tour, he is visiting many select communities en route. The Kootenay Boundary region is not one of those areas.

After Kelowna the relay team will continue to head west to their final destination on May 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver for the closing ceremonies.

For more information about Relay for Life and to see the relay routes visit www.rickhansenrelay.com .