The Mason Place store in West Sechelt was a flurry of activity last Sunday when more than 125 men, women and children ran, walked and rolled for hope during the third annual Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion event.
Event organizer Wendy Comeau was thrilled to see people of all ages and abilities gathered on behalf of people living with spinal cord injury. Debbie Sawchuck, owner of Mason Place store, and Richard Barry from the Barry Patch in West Sechelt announced they would love to host the Wheels In Motion event again next year.
Judy Sim (pictured above with her team The Believers) is the 2005 Sunshine Coast Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion event ambassador. Sim is committed to raising awareness about challenges associated with living with a spinal cord injury. She inspired her family and friends from the Pender Harbour and Sechelt areas to get involved and join her team. The Believers raised more than $2,000. On Sunday, she spoke about the difficulties she faces being in a wheelchair on the Sunshine Coast. Everyday things like getting onto a sidewalk may mean detouring down the block. Shopping? There are lots of stores she and others like her cannot enjoy. The aisles are too narrow or the doors are inaccessible. She would love to be able to go the beach and get down to the water or get into a kayak and paddle on the water. Before her injury, she loved to sail. Quality of life for her is to have the independence and freedom to do the things she loves and needs to do. The Sechelt Wheels event organizers dedicated this year's event to the memory of Seamus Hennessey.
In 1982, Hennessey was six years old when he received a spinal cord injury to his neck after he was hit by a vehicle in Roberts Creek while riding his bike. He was one of Rick Hansen's biggest supporters. He met Hansen in 1987 while he was wheeling through the Lower Mainland on return from his epic Man In Motion World Tour. Hennessey died in 1996 at the age of 20 from complications of the spinal cord injury. His mother and father, Liz and Patrick, and brother Nicholas were present for the dedication - made by Hansen's sister, Chris Clayton. Hennessey epitomized the spirit of the Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion event, as he lived his life with courage, determination and hope.
This year's event raised more than $4,000, and funds are still rolling in. Half the net proceeds raised are directed to priority needs identified to improve the quality of life of people living with a spinal cord injury locally. The other half is directed towards research that improves everyday life and ultimately leads to a cure. If you were not able to attend the event and would like to make a donation, please contact Wheels In Motion at 1-866-609-4335 before Aug. 31 and ask that your donation be directed towards the Sunshine Coast Wheels In Motion event. Anyone who has a spinal cord injury and wants more information about the Sunshine Coast Quality of Life funds, should contact Chris Clayton at 604-740-8845.