The Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion society is encouraging Canadians from every province and territory to organize or join an event committee in preparation for the second annual Wheels In Motion day on June 13.
More than 11,000 people from across Canada took part in the first Wheels in Motion event and their efforts raised $600,000 for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI).
Whistler contributed more than $15,000 to help the Rick Hansen Foundation provide adaptive ski programs and rehabilitation training equipment for people in the district who live with SCI.
The Wheels in Motion day encourages people of all ages and abilities to wheel around a designated course in their communities.
People used everything from in-line skates to wheelchairs to complete the course last year; others simply walked.
The event is named after its founder, Rick Hansen, who became a national icon when he wheeled 40,000km around the in world in 1986/87 and raised more than $26 million.
"Since the Man In Motion World Tour over 18 years ago, we have been constantly working towards improving the quality of life of people with a spinal cord injury," Hansen said.
"The funds raised from Wheels In Motion provides us with the opportunity to meet the needs of those living with a spinal cord injury, from the point of injury, through to integration into the community."
Half of the net proceeds from this event are directed to priority needs of people living with SCI in event communities. The other half is directed towards research.
The quality of life funds disbursed into communities across Canada will support initiatives such as improving peer support, residential access ramps, training assistance dogs, wheelchair purchases and developing sports and recreation programs.
Other benefits include ensuring disabled children have access to play park structures, residential homes, washrooms and transportation.
Proceeds for research will be allocated to establishing a Spinal Cord Injury Transnational Research Network.
This network will bring together more than 16 key universities, hospitals and rehabilitation centres to collaborate and increase the number of clinical trials to maximize the quality of life of people with a SCI.
The research will cover areas from point of injury through to people with SCI actively living and contributing in their community.
"Im grateful to Canadians for helping to keep the dream alive. Through advances in technology and research, I believe that one day any person with SCI will have the chance at full recovery and the opportunity to walk again," Hansen said.
"Until then, were asking people to get on wheels so that eventually people with SCI can get off wheels.
Any person with a SCI or a desire to be involved with the Wheels in Motion program can call 1-800-213-2131 or visit www.rickhansen.com for help and/or details.
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