Rick Hansen Relay inspires in Rossland

Jill O’Hearn passes the Rick Hansen Relay medal to her mom, Darcy last Thursday as the relay set off to Grand Forks.  - Arne Petryshen Photo
Jill O’Hearn passes the Rick Hansen Relay medal to her mom, Darcy last Thursday as the relay set off to Grand Forks.
— image credit: Arne Petryshen Photo

Last week the Rick Hansen Relay came through Rossland, recognizing the difference-makers in the community. The relay marked the 25th anniversary of Hansen’s original Man in Motion tour, in which he went around the world in his wheelchair.

Last Wednesday was marked by the arrival of the Man in Motion tour in Rossland and the End of Day ceremony.

This saw Rossland Olympic sit-skier Kimberly Joines finish off day 247 bearing the medal and receiving the difference maker medal for Rossland.

The next day the relay launched again from MacLean Elementary.

Darcy O’Hearn, who was one of those chosen to carry the medal 250 metres through Rossland, said that the opportunity meant the  world to her.

O’Hearn suffered a spinal cord injury when she was 24 and said that she really admires Hansen.

She suffered a spinal cord injury to the neck while training in Chile with the American whitewater kayak team.

“I broke it in two locations, but I was able to walk again,” she said. “I could be in a wheelchair right now, but through Rick I was able to heal, and now I can kind of make a difference and continue to try  to make a difference volunteering for our community.”

O’Hearn said that after her accident she had to learn to walk and brush her teeth again. She said that Hansen was an inspiration to her along the way and she even bungee jumped like he once did.

“He signed my guest book when I cycled across Canada,” she said. “I so badly wanted to get a medal for Canada (at the Olympics) and I never got to and of course I never did achieve that dream. For me this is my gold medal, it just means the world. I kind of accomplished my dream after 1997.”

After her accident the doctors in Chile were able to perform surgery and she could walk again. When she arrived back in Canada she cycled across Canada, visiting children in hospitals along the way to inspire them.

The Rick Hansen Relay arrives in Penticton today and finally in Vancouver on May 22, or day 273 of the relay.

To follow the relay, go to


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