40. Rick Hansen

CEO, Rick Hansen Foundation

40-Age: 58 | 2007: #50A paraplegic since he was thrown from a truck at age 15, Rick Hansen is best known for his Man in Motion tour, from March 1985 to May 1987, when he circumnavigated the globe in his wheelchair (damaging his shoulder on the first day) to raise awareness and money for people with disabilities. That journey made him a hero in the Terry Fox mould, but it’s what he’s done in the decades since—from counselling newly paralyzed people to lobbying for the rights of the disabled to establishing a foundation that has raised more than $200 million—that makes him an enduring role model.Many of the things that physically challenged people in Vancouver (and elsewhere) take for granted—curb ramps, handicapped parking spots, fully accessible washrooms—have grown directly out of Hansen’s advocacy and example. A champion Paralympic athlete in 1984, and a torchbearer at the 2010 Winter Games, he’s made the city more inclusive and become a civic beacon by turning personal misfortune into an ongoing crusade to help others.

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