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Rick Hansen Medal relay hits Macleod on Tuesday

The Royal Canadian Mint crafted the sterling silver medal. Each relay participant gets a replica.

The Man In Motion’s medal is coming to Fort Macleod on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Rick Hansen won’t personally be in town to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his world-wide journey in a wheelchair.
But the sterling silver Rick Hansen Relay Medal will be carried through Fort Macleod by medal-bearers as part of a cross-Canada tour.
The relay will start at 2:50 p.m. at Fort Macleod Health Care Centre and make its way to the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
The last medal bearer is to reach the sports centre at 3:15 p.m. A short ceremony will take place, followed by free public skating.
The relay will leave the sports centre Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m.
Hansen passed through Fort Macleod in February 1987 as he closed in on the 23,000-mile mark of his Man In Motion tour.
As part of the 25th anniversary celebration a nine-month national relay began Aug. 24, 2011.
The relay will pass through hundreds of communities from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver, B.C.
Rick Hansen is unable to visit every community on the relay route due to the six-month duration of the event as well as his everyday duties with his foundation.
Hansen will be present at ceremonies in some major centres, such as Calgary and Edmonton.
The 25th anniversary relay is intended to celebrate people who are making a difference in their communities.
F.P. Walshe student Rebecca Neels is one of the people chosen to carry the medal through Fort Macleod.
Rebecca, who at 14 months of age was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, is in Grade 10 at F.P. Walshe school.
Another medal-bearer is Const. Shane MacMillan who found the courage at age 42 to join the RCMP, and encountered some challenges along the way.
“It took both determination and courage on my part, along with some sacrifice,” MacMillan said in his application to join the medal relay. “During the six months of training, I missed my oldest daughter’s college graduation, and my youngest daughter’s prom, high school graduation and black belt grading in Kung Fu.”
Then the MacMillans left their long-time home in Arthurette, New Brunswick for his first RCMP posting in Fort Macleod.
“I am very happy with my career choice and the opportunity in gives me to make a change in not only the community, but also in people’s lives,” MacMillan said.
Joanne Patton of Fort Macleod will also be a medal bearer.
“I remember when Rick did his Man in Motion tour all those years ago,” Patton said. “It made me proud to be a Canadian.”
Chantal Heffernan lives in Lethbridge but works as a public health nurse in Fort Macleod.
“I am so excited that I was selected to be a medal-bearer running the relay between the communities in which I live and work,” Heffernan said. “I recall being 10 years old and my whole school lined up to watch Rick Hansen pass by. He was and continues to be so inspiring to me and others.”
Chris Schamber has been a quadriplegic 24 years and has faced some of the barriers Hansen hoped to eliminate with awareness.
“I have started my own business to try to work for a barrier free tomorrow,” said Schamber, who has designed an accessible four-plex. “All we can do is try to the best of our abilities to make a difference.”
Other people who will serve as a medal bearer on the Fort Macleod route include Alyssa Barbero, Robb Sulava, Kendall-Jo Oliver, and Jane Judd.
“During a Grade 8 language report, I had the luck to be able to research and report all about Rick Hansen’s injury,” Alyssa Barbero said. “The way Rick got through his life changing experience and was able to carry on and excel with his life inspires me.”
Every medal-bearer will receive his or her own replica of the medal designed by the Royal Canadian Mint.