It was an absolutely wonderful experience says 13 year old Tayler Pilon of Morrisburg who participated in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Man in Motion Relay at Smiths Falls on Saturday, October 29.
“It was awesome,” says Tayler who was accompanied by her mom Laury, her grandmother Inez Bilmer and a large number of family members to Smiths Falls where she ran in memory of her beloved ‘poppy’ Les Bilmer, who was left a quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury suffered in 2000.
Les passed away in May of 2004.
Tayler was one of seven participants in the Smiths Falls segment of the relay, “three wheelers and four runners”. It was a great experience. I met a lot of nice people.”
When Tayler learned she was one of 2,000 Ontarians selected for the relay, she and her mom Laury set a goal to raise $1,000. As of last week, they raised $2,020.
“That is way more than I ever expected. I want to thank all the people who donated. It is going to a great cause.”
Both Tayler and her mom were impressed with the day, the organization, the coordination and the wonderful spirit of all those working in the relay.
“They made it so much fun,” said Laury.
“You clapped people off the bus, and they played music all the way along the route,” says Tayler. “Everything was laid out and ready to go. Everyone was so willing to help and there was always a person around if you had a question.”
Tayler says it was an honour to carry the commemorative Rick Hansen Difference Maker Medal (produced by the Royal Canadian Mint) which was passed to her by Amanda Lawson of Brockville. She then carried it to a waiting Marshal Hogan of Smiths Falls who was the community ‘medal bearer of the day’.
As a participant Tayler received a replica of the medal and will keep her “Man in Motion’ Nike track suit.
Major sponsors for the 25th anniversary relay are Nike and McDonald’s Restaurants.
Twenty-five years ago, Rick Hansen wheeled through 34 countries in 26 months to complete his now-famous Man in Motion World Tour. He raised millions of dollars and invaluable awareness for people with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities.
The 25th anniversary relay started in Newfoundland in August and will end May 22, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Pictured: Above Taylor is passed the Relay Medal by Amanda Lawson of Brockville. Below she is pictured with Marshal Hogan of Smiths Falls who was that community’s ‘medal bearer of the day’. In the background of the bottom photo (far right) is her grandmother Inez Bilmer.