As a child, Rick Hansen inspired me to see beyond barriers and to realize the potential within. I became a runner only after a runner friend was diagnosed with cancer. I vowed right then that I would find a run to participate in and fundraise for. In October 2010, I ran my first half marathon with Team in Training and raised over $2000 above my fundraising minimum for the cause. In October 2011, I ran my first full marathon and am already planning to run a charity full marathon in the future. I am a strong advocate for healthy lifestyles through my personal blog and continue to inspire other moms to find their potential to live a healthy, balanced life to be healthy role models for the next generation. I would be honoured to carry the medal in this relay to honour Rick Hansen's legacy and to bring further awareness to erasing barriers to potential.I didn't think for a moment that I would be chosen and I felt so honoured that I was.
So, today I give you my three thoughts on my experience with the Rick Hansen Relay. The entire Relay was such an emotional experience for me. It's taken a few days to pull together my thoughts and feelings about the event. Whether or not I can express them fully in this post has yet to be seen.
1) I find that having been called a "Difference Maker" so many times in the last few days has made me want to find ways to make an even greater impact. My exposure to the stories and incredible feats of those around me has changed my own aspirations a great deal. I figure if becoming a paraplegic wasn't enough to make Lonnie Bissonette stop basejumping...well, there isn't much that I am not capable of and I should be exercising that power in any way I can.
2) It was certainly a memorable experience and I think it may have its place in Canadian history, though I don't think it will be a huge thing. Nothing will ever overshadow Rick Hansen's original tour.
On the Relay, itself, I had mixed feelings. I think the journey is an incredibly important statement. The execution of said journey, however, felt a little contrived. This far into the Relay they have gotten the entire process down to a science. There was something robotic about the entire thing - from the speeches they gave to the mechanics of pulling off the handoffs and seeing the legs through to completion. I instantly knew when the lady who ran with me (I want to say her name was Wendy) took a deep breath and immediately asked me "So, why were you chosen?", that this was something she had repeated at the start of every leg and that she had heard it all and wasn't really interested.
I was also disappointed by the number of legs that were reserved for corporate sponsors. I know, I know - that comes with the territory of anything of this scope. It just seemed like it negated the thought that the medal bearers were all difference makers in the community. Just my thought.
3) I think Katy Perry's song "Fireworks" is going to be forever lodged in my brain. That..and the dance. I don't think I will ever be rid of the dance.
Overall, though - it was a very positive experience and yet another that I think will have a profound impact on my life and my outlook.