It was the song that encouraged Rick Hansen and inspired a nation as Rick wheeled 40,075 km around the world to show the potential of people with disabilities when barriers are removed and to raise funds for spinal cord injury.
St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) was written by composer David Foster and British musician John Parr as the theme song for the film of the same name but it was Rick’s journey that really became the basis for the song.
“St. Elmo’s Fire became my anthem,” said Rick Hansen, President & CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. “Wherever I was wheeling, on a road, street or highway in the 34 countries I crossed, I would hear that song and smile, and dig a little deeper to keep pushing forward.”
Through TV and radio personality Terry David Mulligan, Foster had learned of the Man In Motion World Tour and used Rick’s story as inspiration for a musical piece he was working on for the St. Elmo’s Fire theme song.
Rick arrived in Hollywood during his wheel down the west coast and met Foster who played Rick the music. Foster then collaborated with songwriter John Parr and while watching video of Rick wheeling, Parr’s lyrics fell into place.
“Doing the song was such a thrill and honour for me and John Parr,” said David Foster. “We had no idea the song would follow Rick on his incredible journey around the world. It was his commitment and dedication that helped us to write the song and we’re very glad it still holds so much importance.”
“Someone’s dream is a precious and personal thing,” said John Parr. “If they trust you enough to share their secret, be mindful of your reply. The wrong word can snuff out the spark, the right one can turn into a raging fire. David and I were blessed the day Rick chose to share his dream and 25 years on, the fire still burns.”
On September 7, 1985, when St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100, Rick was in Moscow, Russia, unaware that his theme song had become a worldwide anthem for people with disabilities.
Now, 25 years later, Rick Hansen’s journey continues.
March 21, 2010 marked the 25-year milestone since Rick pushed his wheelchair out of Vancouver on his Man In Motion World Tour.
Stay tuned for exciting news being announced in November on Rick’s quest for a more inclusive and accessible world along with finding a cure for spinal cord injury. Twenty-five years ago Rick set out to make a difference and prove anything is possible, and the 25th Anniversary of that original dream will bring bold initiatives that will inspire the nation once again.