I’m still amazed that I was one of the lucky folk chosen to participate in the Rick Hansen “Many in Motion” relay as a medal bearer. What a privilege it was to carry that 1-pound silver medal from point to point, grinning like the proverbial cheshire cat as I jogged along in the warm but torrential rain.
I ran for several people, and several reasons, today… and thinking about them as I ran had tears mingling with the rain on my face.
I ran for my Dad who was my inspiration throughout my life. Despite being blind since early childhood, there was little he couldn’t or wouldn’t do. A piano tuner by trade and a talented musician by birth, he faced every day with enthusiasm. He and my mother adopted me as an infant – no doubt a challenge for a then-middle-aged couple, one of whom was totally blind. But he did all of the things Dads do – played with me, let me ride on his back spurring my pony on for ‘just one more ride’ at the end of his tiring day.
I ran for my sister Dawn who has faced many challenges in her life, not the least of which was the loss of her daughter, Mandi, to complications related to spina bifida.
I ran for my niece Mandi who had the privilege of meeting Rick Hansen on his first Man in Motion tour through Saint John 25 years ago. Normally shy, she was, I am told, intrigued by the man and his chair, shaking his hand as he paused to say hello.
I ran for my grandchildren, Mattias and Isla, in the hopes that neither of them ever have to face serious or crippling illness or injury.
And, I ran for myself – for overcoming paralysis from polio, the occult spina bifida that causes me to be protective of my back, and to prove that, as the oldest participant in this leg of the event – I could, and did, do it!
And, they all ran with me – in my heart.
Thanks to the amazing team of people who organized this event. I can’t even imagine the logistics involved in finding, outfitting and coordinating 7,000 people to carry the medal from coast to coast. And, at the local level, the group who put together the after-celebrations with entertainment and special events.