Rick Hansen relay celebration planned for April 7 in Sicmous

Twenty-five years ago, Canadian hero Rick Hansen began his epic journey around the world by wheelchair to raise awareness of, and funding, for spinal cord injury research.

The anniversary of the epic Man in Motion tour is being celebrated in Canada with a relay that covers Hansen’s coast-to-coast journey. The relay kicked off in Newfoundland in August, 2011, with more than 7,000 participants carrying a special relay medal over 12,000 kilometres to 600 communities. On Saturday, April 7, the medal makes its way into Sicamous, and plans are  underway to celebrate the occasion.

Moose Mulligan’s Pub is the place to be on the evening of Thursday, April 5. At 8 p.m. the pub will be hosting a bit of a karaoke contest to see who will have the honour of singing O Canada at the end-of-day celebration on Friday. Entrants will have to sing two songs, one being the national anthem. To sign up, contact the Sicamous Chamber of Commerce at 250-836-0002.

Celebrations on the 7th kick off at noon in front of Eagle River Secondary. Events for the day include a kids ‘colouring contest from 12 to 3 p.m. and a kids’ bike parade at 12:30. And the Shuswap Community Church will be providing their inflatable bouncy toys for children to play on.

Kids, however, aren’t the only ones being encouraged to take part in this celebration of mobility.

“In the spirit of the Man in Motion tour we are hosting our first Seniors Scooter Race,” says organizer Jamie Sherlock. “We hope with this fun event to encourage our seniors to come out and show off their modes of transportation and are proud that even with their limited mobility they can enjoy our great community.”

The scooter races begin at 1 p.m. And there’s no worries if any mishaps should occur, as rescue and fire crews will be on hand to provide assistance while showing off their vehicles.

The day’s master of ceremonies will be Bob Moore who, with the Eagle River Secondary jazz band, will welcome the last runner of the day at 3 p.m. And that runner, chosen by the community, is Sicamous’ Kathy Keam. Her selection reflect’s  part of Hansen’s vision for the national relay.

“While our route plans will respect the original Man In Motion World Tour’s dates and communities, highlighting the progress made over the past 25 years, one of our goals will be to tell the story of everyday Canadian heroes who are making a difference in their communities, their country and the world,” writes Hansen.

Sherlock notes that after Keam arrives, the real celebration begins.

Community involvement doesn’t end on the 7th, however. On April 10, the medal leaves the community for Malakwa, and locals are being selected to carry it on its way. Confirmed medal bearers include Sherlock’s son, Colby, as well as the News’ own Terry Sinton. More runners will be announced as the date draws near.

The entire event will be uniquely Sicamous, from a short jaunt on a houseboat on the day of its arrival, to its departure route, which includes a quick spin around the track at Kelly’s Go Karts.

To register for the kids’ bike parade or seniors scooter races, call the chamber at 250-836-0002, or the Sicamous Visitor Centre at 250-836-3313.

A map of the local relay route is available at the visitor centre in the civic centre.

Photos of Rick Hansen's visit to Sicamous on his original Man In Motion tour submitted by Suzanne Carpenter.

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