Rick Hansen in Australia

Rick Hansen in Australia

Rick Hansen to attend end-of-day celebrations in White Rock

The Man in Motion will visit the seaside city for the 25th anniversary of his world tour.

The Man in Motion is making a stop in White Rock.

Rick Hansen will be attending end-of-day celebrations May 19 at the White Rock Community Centre, 15154 Russell Ave., for the relay that bears his name.

City special events co-ordinator Amy Baumann said last week that she had been waiting for news the Canadian Paralympian would be coming for many weeks.

“I had been keeping my fingers crossed. I had a feeling that because it was three days before the end of the relay, there would be a fairly good chance he would come,” she said. “We’re all so excited.”

Hansen will be a part of the official ceremony, which is slated for 7 p.m., and will share the stage with White Rock’s relay team, including final medal-bearer Jayme Hall and “Mr. O Canada” Mark Donnelly – who will be singing the national anthem.

Baumann said having Hansen attend will be the perfect finishing touch to the festivities.

“I think having Rick there will attract a larger crowd, but it also means a lot to the event itself,” she said. “This is the 25th anniversary, so to have him actually on site, I think it will be fantastic.”

The celebration will begin at 5 p.m. with performances from Semiahmoo Secondary youth band, local solo singer Payton Rector, students from the Todd Brewer School of Music and a short performance from the Sources Life Skills Resource Centre Group, Events Unlimited.

The White Rock Fire Department will be on hand to host a barbecue with partial proceeds going towards the Richard Morrison Trust Fund.

The relay is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour, which saw Hansen cover 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries in 26 months with his wheelchair, in order to raise awareness about spinal cord injury.

This year, Hansen retraced the Canadian segment of the MIMWT. Starting off in Newfoundland, traveling westward towards B.C., the nine-month relay will cover 12,000 kilometres in total, visiting more than 600 communities. The relay’s final destination is Vancouver.

In the last 25 years, the Rick Hansen Foundation has raised more than $250 million to accelerate progress towards a cure for spinal-cord injuries.