Burnaby resident Janice Heinze, an ambulance paramedic, was chosen to be a medal bearer in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay. Heinze ran her leg of the relay along Broadway in Vancouver on May 21.
"It was very inspiring, all the people that were around, it was so great to experience that and support everybody," Heinze said. "It was truly a great experience."
The relay celebrated the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man in Motion tour, where he circled the globe in his wheelchair, raising millions for spinal cord research. Heinze heard about the relay and wanted to participate. Heinze has done marathons and races for charity before, but this one hit close to home.
"My journey started when my brother was hit by a truck," she said. His body was shattered, his back broken, and he spent some time in a wheelchair.
"All the people who helped him out, he's now able to walk. He's my inspiration," Heinze said, adding that she was also running for a friend - Rav Prasad - who passed away from cancer.
Heinze got to meet and talk with Hansen himself.
"He was very humble," she said. "I don't think he realized how much of a change he's made in people's lives. His contributions are priceless."
The anniversary relay started last Aug. 24 on the east coast and ended with a huge celebration in Vancouver. The route covered 12,000 kilometres and wove through 600 communities. For more, go to www.rickhansenrelay. com.