Sunday, May 20, 2012

Days 267 and 268 Abbotsford to Maple Ridge to Coquitlam, B.C.

Day 267, I was back on the supply truck today, look at that nice job I did loading up everyone's luggage to take to our 2nd to last home on the relay, Burnaby.

but first, I went to help out the events team at one of the bigger events of the 25th anniversary relay at Rick Hansen High School in Abbotsford. Schools were bussed in from all around to witness a relay first outside on the track field.

There were two events at the high school today. While the students from the other schools were forming up outside, the Rick Hansen students were having their own relay school presentation inside.

The relay convoy, including the local police escorts, our pilot vehicle, and one of our shuttle busses staged themselves out in front of the school .
The Rick Hansen 25th anniversary relay school presentation had another element to it today.

The school's namesake, the man in motion himself was on hand today to inspire another generation.

and the medal bearers, the representitives of the 25th anniversary relay were on hand as well.

Part of the presentation includes a video of Rick Hansen bungee jumping on the t.v. show, "the Rick Mercer report". In this photo Rick is watching himself making the plunge! Click here to watch the video.
and outside the students were getting ready for another relay first. Today, there was an EMT (extraordinary mode of transport) for the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal.

Medal bearer #1 on day 267, Jess, is making a grand entrance at Rick Hansen High.

I wonder if it is any harder to  steer with the Rick Hansen medal, almost a pound of , around his neck.

He certainly entertained, he twisted and turned numerous times ..........
before making a perfect touchdown on the field! (bad pun!)

Our emcee, Billy, ask Jess about his experience.

Our new endurance athlete, Ramesh. Here is his bio:


Ramesh Ferris was born in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu in India. At six months old, he contracted polio which resulted in paralysis of his legs. One year later, with limited means and no access to rehabilitation, Ramesh was placed in a Canadian-founded orphanage.

Soon after, he was adopted by a Canadian family who brought him to Whitehorse, making him the first international adoption in the Yukon Territory. With the support of his new Canadian family and after several operations at the Vancouver's Children's Hospital, Ramesh learned to walk with crutches and braces for the first time at three and a half years old.

"Because I had a long-term physical disability and walked with braces and crutches, I was in a position where I challenged community members’ mind sets on the importance of accessibility within the community, within the school system, and within the health care services system," says Ramesh.

In 2002, Ramesh returned to India to meet his birth mother for the first time. The trip gave him a new understanding of the challenges faced by those with disabilities in other parts of the world, and prompted him to look at ways he could make a difference – both at home and around the world.

"I saw polio survivors who did not have access to braces, crutches, surgeries and other rehabilitative supports, and who were forced to crawl around their communities using cut up pieces of tires which they used to pad their knees and hands," explains Ramesh. "It was after this trip that I truly looked around me, and reflected within. I thought of my personal heroes and names like Terry Fox and Rick Hansen came to my mind. These two courageous individuals came to my mind because they both exemplified what I desired to achieve within my own life: the ability to give myself to a cause in order that I may assist others."

In 2008, inspired by his heroes, Ramesh started his Cycle to Walk Polio campaign – a cross-Canada journey focused on raising awareness about polio eradication, education and rehabilitation. Starting in Victoria, B.C., and making his way eastward to Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ramesh completed 7,140 kilometres on his handcycle. The campaign raised thousands of dollars toward the cause and sparked renewed awareness about the disease.

Since completing his tour, Ramesh has continued to dedicate his efforts to bettering the lives of others. Ramesh played a pivotal role in creating accessible communities in the Yukon, including the establishment of wheelchair basketball, and handcycling programs in the north. A compelling speaker, Ramesh now dedicates his time to sharing his story of survival with audiences and dignitaries in India, the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, and throughout his home country of Canada.

The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay is proud to have Ramesh participate as an Endurance Athlete, May 13 to22, 2012 - from Agassiz to Vancouver, B.C.

There's Johnny, who is head of our media team, over-seeing the media at today's event. Now, for some strange reason (must be getting relay tired, (another bad pun), I neglected to take any pics of the grand finale at the school. After Rick Hansen was finished inspiring the masses inside, he came out, and wheeled around the track on the sports field with the school's difference maker, Shyna, with hundreds of school kids cheering him on. Maybe I got caught up in the moment!
So then, it was over the Fraser River on to the Lougheed Highway

then onto Highway 1 towards Burnaby. It has been 9 months since I have driven along this stretch of road, and there is still a ton of construction along the route.

A different view from my new home, but at least I get to watch the congestion on Highway 1 instead of being in it!

time for a little bloggin!
Day 268, today I was back on shuttle bus with Jake as the host. Our  first medal bearer meeting point of the day was at the Pitt Meadows (population about 17,800) city hall, about 31 kilometres east from the hotel.

the difference makers meet in the board room. This was also our lunch stop today, and the community went all out to welcome the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary relay.

Outside of the Pitt Meadows Secondary School, the school's difference makers, Victor and Natasha wait with some of their peers.

I had to keep moving with the rest of the medal bearers, but their were a 3 or 4 hundred students outside of the school cheering them on.
and another crowd of enthusiastic students outside of the Pitt Meadows elementary school.

I moved ahead to park at the lunch stop, and the convoy was not far behind.

As I have said before, the schools are making the 25th anniversary Rick Hanen relay a huge success.

Time for the relay escort crew, and our endurance athlete Ramesh to take a well deserved lunch break.
Outside the hall, the media scrum as Rick Hansen enters the parking lot. We are starting to see the man in motion a lot more as we get closer to the end of the relay.

A great outpouring of support from the community.

Then it was time for Jake and I to head to our second medal bearer meeting point of the day, this time in Coquitlam, B.C. (population 126,500) (about 1/2 hour from Vancouver (depending on traffic))

Our meeting point was at the Coquitlam Inovation Centre.
Outside of the centre is a Lafarge Lake, which is man-made, but beautiful all the same.

There was all an art museum there. I took a quick peek in, and saw this centerpiece of a display called "beauty in symmetry

Our meeting point was in one of the basement board rooms.
The medal bearers are ready to roll!

a lot of excitement on the bus as we head towards our insertion point. This group was part of 90 difference makers today.

 I can see the convoy coming up behind us as I reach the insertion point for the first medal bearer in our group.

One of our pilots today, Natalie gives Jenny some word of encouragement as she waits for her turn to carry the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal.
The end of day celebration was at Spirit Square in Coquitlam. The community had a lot of interactive displays on hand in conjuction with the relay.

What would an end of day celbration be without our sponsors. (this is another where's Waldo ( I mean Ronald McDonald) shot))

there he is!
Another gorgeous day on the relay!

The end of day group photo.

and then back to the hotel in Burnaby! The sun has set on day 268, only 5 more to go!

1 comment:

  1. The construction along HWY 1 is a nightmare! Every time I drive that stretch, the routing is different. One of these times I'm going to accidentally end up in Surrey! I can't wait for it to be over!

    Hilarious that I kept missing you on Thursday & Friday, except for hollering at you as you whizzed by on Thermal! Not for lack of trying!

    I had a blast, though it feels like parts of it are a blur. That always seems to be the way when you're doing something really big.

    Happily, I manage to track down a ticket for Tuesday night-can't wait to see that!

    You're in the home stretch now! Wednesday morning is coming up fast!