With the Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion tour fast approaching the Trent Hills Community, people had an opportunity to meet and get inspiration from guest speaker Steven McCahon an Ambassador speaker for Rick Hansen. Steven spoke to a room full of eager listeners at the Campbellford Library on May 18 about the trials, tribulations and barriers that he faces every day.
So what challenges do people with spinal cord injuries face every day? Steven can tell you many. From going to the beach, accessibility to transportation to attitude, Steven as seen it all.
At 16 Steven became a Paraplegic from a diving accident at a pool that he had swum in on hundreds of occasions. It was at first thought that he had hit his head on the bottom of the pool, but with no apparent bruising or head injury that was ruled out. “Kids don’t think they can sustain an injury from jumping or diving into the water. All you need to do is hit the water at the wrong angle and that’s it,” says Steven.
On Sunday, June 13, the Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion event comes to Campbellford for the first time ever at the Old Mill Park.
Nearly 15 years ago Rick Hansen raised awareness regarding spinal cord injuries and the barriers and challenges that people face every day. Rick Hansen wheeled 40,000 kilometres in 34 countries in his wheelchair. He spent a great deal of time in Ontario and his determination and spirit touched millions of people, which created an influx of goodwill.
The Wheels in Motion event being held in Campbellford is a non-competitive event, encouraging people to come out and participate, whether it be walking, riding, rollerblading, by walker or by wheelchair, the methods are endless.
Participants have been collecting pledges throughout the community to raise awareness and funds to improve the quality of life for those who have suffered a spinal cord injury. The funds raised will be split in half with half going to spinal cord research and the other half staying here to improve services in the community for people who have disabilities.
There have been planned routes established for walkers, runners and people on all kinds of wheels. “Our goal is to put on a great event for our community to come together, have some fun, meet new people and help make a difference in the lives of people in the community with spinal cord injury,” says Doreen Sharpe
It is estimated that children, teenagers and adults living with a spinal cord injury impact 10 million Canadians; 89 per cent of injuries occur to people under the age of 34 and healthcare costs over a lifetime can reach from $1.24-million to $25-million.
Steven has spent most of his time in the employment-counselling sector and has completed law school. He has travelled by train across country. His work today includes advocacy and the improvement of quality of life for the disabled. He is married and has two beautiful children.
For so many reasons everyone is encouraged to come out on June 13 at the Old Mill Park and live for today to give hope to others tomorrow.
by Irene Newington