“This little moment is ours and it’s positive and results will come from this,” said Ed Natyshak Thursday with dozens of people surrounding him at the community complex.
It was a spectacle to watch the Rick Hansen Many in Motion tour make its way through Nelson Thursday. Once on Baker Street, the brightly dressed medal bearers were accompanied with an entourage of children, tour participants and even a band, which made the arrival of the relay aware to any bystanders on the street and nearby shops.
Beginning at the north end of the orange bridge, the medal bearers carried the silver medal, which began the relay in St. Johns Newfoundland, for 250 meters before passing it on to the next bearer on the route through Nelson. Each handoff commenced with a special dance by the medal bearers whose excitement was evident from the wide smiles on their faces.
Upon arriving at the NDCC, a crowd that had gathered with honourable medal bearer Ed Natyshak erupted into cheer. He pushed his way up to the stage with the entire crowd behind him vocalizing their support and excitement.
“I just want to give back,” said Natyshak once he reached the stage.
“This support feels fantastic, it feels good to give back to you guys and to be able to say thank you,” said the Nelson local, who saw the community reach out to help him through his recovery when he suffered spinal injury mountain biking at Mountain Station.
“Spinal cord injury is a new world,” he continued. “It’s something that you could never prepare yourself for.”
“One of the things you do find out right away is that you’re going to need help, you’re going to need people together doing what it takes to get your life back on track.”
“I think that’s something that Rick Hansen personifies, that it’s not about one person, it’s about all of us doing it and making it happen. It’s something that feels as impossible to deal with as a spinal cord injury, but a guy like that shows you that anything is possible.”
During his presentation to the audience Natyshak recalled when Hansen visited him in the hospital at G.F. Strong after his injury.
“The first thing I though was ‘how am I going to be as cool as that guy,’ I only saw him for five minutes but he set the wheels in motion for me so that I knew I was going to overcome boundaries, I was going to jump over barriers, I wasn’t going to stop. He set the bar high,” said Natyshak, who had the audience gripped by his speech.
“It doesn’t take miracles, it doesn’t take heroes and it doesn’t take hope. What it takes is hard work. When we get together as a society, as a community, as a country, as free people who understand that together we can do just about anything, when we take on things that are impossible and we make them possible, that affects the whole world. And it always will.”
The tour continues to Castlegar from the NDCC on Sunday morning.