So after launch with the family and a brief stop at home, I headed over to the Burnaby Village Museum, for the End of Day Celebration.
There was lots of entertainment-a band and a children's choir, both of which were very good. By this point in the day, I was quickly running out of steam, so I found a quiet bench where I could sit and enjoy the music while I wanted for the final medal bearer and Rick Hansen to arrive.
While I was sitting there, a member of the relay team, Lisa sat down beside me to take a break. We had a really great conversation about how I'd gotten involved in the relay and what life was going to be like for her once Wednesday rolls around and she doesn't have to pack up and hit the road anymore because the relay's over. I have to tell you that everyone I met from the Rick Hansen Foundation was helpful and really friendly. They are a great group of people-clearly the foundation attracts and hires the best!
Eventually Rick and the end of day medal bearer arrived. There was a pretty good crowd, but this End of Day Celebration felt pretty intimate.
Rick gave a short speech thanking his personal Difference Makers-people who were present at the End of Day Celebration who have stood by him, encouraged and supported him in his life. There was his high school coach who urged him not to give up on his dreams of being an athlete after his spinal cord injury and the university professor who had the vision to accept him into the physical education program at UBC, allowing the opportunity for Rick to be the first person with a disability to graduate from the program. There were also friends who accompanied and supported him on his original Man in Motion World Tour, all those years ago. All of them participated in the 25th Anniversary relay.
Here's our group photo. I am right behind the podium that holds the official medal in the centre. As it turned out, after we were finished, Rick turned and spoke to me. (I'll blog about that tomorrow.) I am really glad I went.
Here's the motor home the official photographers ride around in, in the relay convoy, just ahead of whomever is carrying the medal. It's quite the rig!
Each of the Difference Makers was given a keepsake medal, made by the Royal Canadian Mint, to continue to inspire us to keep working to make positive change in the world.
Remember I said Rick had signed the ribbon? Well here it is!
It really is a thing of beauty.
The ribbon also has "Difference Maker" written in braille on it. The raised dots are rubbery, so they stand out from the ribbon.
The medals are double sided, just like the official one.
The swooshes kind of remind me of the branding for the 2010 Games. You can learn more about the medals here.
In addition to the medal, they were also giving out limited edition pins to medal bearers and their families. These will be treasured as well!
I have one more Relay post, tomorrow and then Tuesday night, I have a ticket to the big wrap up celebration. It's a concert featuring Sarah McLaughlin, Jann Arden, The Canadian Tenors, David Foster, Shane Koyczan & many more! David Suzuki is one of the presenters. It should be a very good time!