Rick Hansen: Around The World In 730 Days20 Jan 2012
Rick Hansen was just 15 years old when he lost the use of his legs, from an auto accident. Forty years on, and he’s gone from strength to strength, and is now planning on changing the way people with disabilities
see mobility, around the world.
Rick, who was born in Canada, became a gold, silver and bronze medal winner in the Paralympics in his early 20’s. His next triumph was when he embarked on a 40,000 km around the world wheelchair journey, which he called the ‘Man in Motion World Tour’ that took him across 34 countries in a total of two years, raising money to help discover a cure for spinal cord injury.
He established the Rick Hansen Foundation, which has so far, raised more than $245 million for research and quality of life programs for spinal cord injury patients. Rick’s motto is ‘anything is possible’ and he believes that in the next 20 years, there will be a cure for victims of spinal cord injuries. Rick was previously CEO of his foundation, but he is now a co-chair on the board of directors.
The next big thing to come out of Rick’s socially innovative mind, is his Global Accessibility Map, which gives people with disabilities, from around the world, the power to rate venues and public places all over the world, on their accessibility. The ratings can cover physical accessibility for people with mobility issues, or it can rate how accessible a place is for people with vision and hearing impairments.
The program can be accessed via a pc, laptop, I-pad, I-phone, Blackberry Torch, and other intelligent cell phones. And, if your mobile device is equipped with GPS capabilities, it can discover your location, and show you what places in your area have been rated by the public.
If everyone who reads this article logs onto the Global Accessibility Map website, and rates one of their favourite places to go, it will assist countless numbers of people who experience difficulties with mobility, when it comes to getting around a new town (or a new place in an old town).
To add a new review to an address anywhere in the world is easy. Just visit www.rickhansenglobalaccessibilitymap.com and click on ‘+ Add new venue’ then a box will appear, and you will be asked to fill in the details of the address you wish to add. If you don’t know the address, no problem, you can access it through a map and locate it yourself. Once added and saved, you can select an option that lets you be the first to review your entry. There, you can choose a rating out of five, for your entry, on accessibility, accessible toilets, sidewalk access, customer service, plus more. You can also leave a summary of your personal experience on the venue.
If you’re connected to Facebook, you can link up your account to the Global Accessibility Map, and log into your map account from there, which means you will only need to remember one password, making life even simpler.
I have just left a review for NOVA Employment’s head office in St Marys. Once a review has been submitted, it takes roughly around two days for it to be approved by the website staff. When it has been approved, the whole world will be able to see your take on your favourite place to shop, eat, play or work at.