By LeRae Haynes
Grade 12 Williams Lake Secondary student Torie Goodall did a lap in the Rick Hansen Tour on both sides of the country—one in Williams Lake and one in Hamilton, Ontario. Her passion for participating in the anniversary tour was sparked by two men: Rick Hansen and her grandfather.
(WLSS student Torie Goodall and her grandpa 'doing the Tour' in Hamilton, Ontario)
She said that her grandfather suffered an extreme spinal cord injury in a skiing accident about 30 years ago, explaining that a piece of his spine splintered and that when surgery was not successful, he was paralyzed. “Instead of sitting in the hospital blaming others for what happened, he said to himself, he said ‘I’m not going to let anyone else go through this.’
“He dedicated the rest of his life to helping others,” she said. “He became a volunteer, a mentor and an inspiration, and received the Governor General’s Order of Canada award for his volunteer efforts.”
When Torie knew that she would be in Hamilton, Ontario visiting her grandfather during the Rick Hansen Anniversary Tour in Hamilton, she went online to sign up. “I wanted to push him on a lap of the race: I wanted to do this with him,” she said. “I signed up on the internet and wrote an essay. It was about my grandpa and the fact that he is my inspiration.”
She said that her grandpa was very excited to be part of the Tour, and added that she pushed him about three blocks.
When the Rick Hansen Anniversary Tour came to Williams Lake last weekend, Torie donned her bright yellow Tour top and went to cheer on family friend Val Biffert, who did a leg of the relay in Williams Lake. “She invited me to come and walk with her,” Torie said, adding that they did the stretch of Western Avenue in front of Columneetza Secondary School.
(Torie, Rick Hansen and Val Biffert)
“I was so impressed with the event—it was a great turnout and the energy was awesome,” she continued. “We have very inspirational people who live here.”
She said that it was a great delight to meet Rick Hansen. “He thanked me for being a part of the event: what an honour to be thanked by someone like him,’’ she stated. “He is an incredible speaker, and the amazing thing is that, when you talk to him, he makes you feel that you are the only person on the planet that matters in that moment.
“He inspires you to do more.”
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