So this post brings us to the final day of the Rick Hansen relay. Day 273 took place yesterday in Vancouver, with the final End of Day Celebration at Terry Fox Plaza, in front of BC Place Stadium.
There was an entire school from Chilliwack who were bussed in to sing. These are the kindergarten kids in their paper crowns. Adorable!
Leading up to the final medal bearer and Rick arriving, they were showing footage of the relay from across Canada on the big screen.
Vancouver Mayor Gregore Robinson and an MLA from Richmond watch Rick's arrival.
This is the media crowding in around Rick. If you look at the centre of the photo, you can just barely make out his knees. They were actually standing on the ramp he was trying to wheel up to get on stage. I have marveled alot the past few days at his ability to gracefully handle being mobbed. Being in a crush of people freaks me out. He's far braver than I am!
Finally, they moved off the ramp so he could wheel up on stage.
BC Premier Christy Clark.
Some of the Vancouver Police department were on hand. I was surprised there weren't any RCMP officers present-they usually show up for big events. I guess because Vancouver has their own force, they were the ones invited.
Rick and the end of day Medal Bearer, Amanda.
I wanted to recognize an unsung hero of the relay. This is the official photographer who has worked super hard, coast to coast capturing the memories for all the Medal Bearers. Her job is largely invisible (when I spoke to her, she said she actually kind of likes it that way) but her work was important to each and every person who was a part of this incredible journey. She's our Difference Maker.
These are a pair of the gloves Rick wore during his Man in Motion World Tour. Wow, just wow.
They had a huge set of banners up for people to sign, so I added my name.
We don't often see police horses in the downtown core. The last time I saw them was during the 2010 games. In the summer, the mounted division of the VPD patrols Stanley Park on horseback, but it's a bit early for that here yet.
Terry Fox Plaza. It's fitting that Rick's Journey always ends here.
Later in the evening, I went to the Rick Hansen Celebrate 25 concert. It was fabulous. What none of us knew was that it was being taped for television and will air on June 24th. It was an amazing night. Shawn Koyczan (if you watched the 2010 Opening ceremonies, you'll remember his stirring poem, We Are More.) performed with Don Alder, an amazing and gifted acoustic guitar player. (Look him up on iTunes-you won't be sorry!) Shane KILLED IT with a poem about Rick Hansen's life story. I can't wait to hear it again with the tv special airs.
Sarah McLaughlin was beautiful and Jann Arden had everyone laughing. It was a night to honour heroes, the Difference Makers. The whole thing was just so amazing-not really something I can adequately convey in words. You just had to be there.
At one point, there was some information up on the big screens and it said that if Rick sustained the same injury today that he suffered when has was 15, chances are, he'd walk away. THAT is how far spinal cord research has come and that's happened because of him.
7000 Difference Makers
= Inspiration from coast to coast to coast!