Rick Hansen is donating a glove used during his historic Man in Motion tour to the Canadian Museum of History, in hopes of re-igniting conversation around accessibility and spinal cord research.
Hansen is poised to mark 30 years since he completed his incredible journey to raise money for spinal cord research and accessibility issues, which took him to 34 countries from 1985-1987. He raised $26 million for research at the time. But Hansen says more still needs to be done to build a more inclusive world.
"It ignited the conversation," Hansen said of his historic journey, in an interview with CTV National News anchor Sandie Rinaldo. Hansen acknowledged there's been progress on the issue, but he admits to being frustrated with a lack of results at times.
He says he's donating his glove to the Canadian Museum of History in hopes of sparking more conversations about accessibility. "I hope that those gloves represent not just history, but the future of the country and a challenge to all of us," he said. "Let's keep working to unfold that dream."
Hansen wore the gloves for part of his 40,000-kilometre journey. He says his gloved hands touched the wheels of his wheelchair almost 15 million times during the trek.
"Those gloves, they represent that dreams come true," he said. "But only with incredible hard work and determination."
Hansen was a star athlete until the age of 15, when he suffered a spinal cord injury in a vehicle collision. He had been sitting in the back of a pickup truck at the time of the accident.
Hansen said the collision was devastating. "I thought all of my hopes and dreams had been wiped out along with my spine."
With Monday marking the 30th anniversary of the end of the tour, Hansen says today, he has no regrets. "I feel like one of the luckiest people on the planet," he said.
"I would never trade my life for the use of my legs."