Ed Natyshak has been named Nelson’s honourable medal bearer for Rick Hansen’s Many in Motion tour this April.
“It is absolutely a great honour to be chosen to bring that medal in and to represent Rick Hansen and his colossal effort for spinal cord rehabilitation and awareness around the world,” said Natyshak.
The Nelson Regional Sports Council unanimously chose Natyshak to represent Nelson as the honourable medal bearer for the event.
Natyshak says after his injury that left him a quadriplegic, the community rallied behind him, and he has since become well known in Nelson.
“I hope it’s just that people recognize that I’ve never quit and I’ve always wanted to try and drive forward and keep on raising the bar from my own standards so that I keep feeling good and keep motivated and express my passion to have a good solid life even though I’m dealing with a pretty catastrophic injury,” he said.
While on a routine cycling trip, Natyshak broke his neck at the C7 vertebrae and had to wait alone in the bush for three hours before crews responded to get him to medical care.
After the accident, Natyshak had to find a way to overcome his injury.
“It’s super challenging every day as soon as you wake up,” he said. “It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never gives you a break.”
“One of the ways that I overcome that is by just getting past it right away. I start to realize that it’s going to take hard work today — as it does every day — so why dwell on it. I just get to it and that’s how I run,” said Natyshak.
Before his cycling injury, Natyshak worked training local athletes.
“Hopefully it’ll become my job again and I can incorporate what I’ve learned, which is a lot since my injury, and hopefully drive to inspire people to work hard and try to achieve their goals,” he said.
“It’s where my passion lies, it’s where my expertise lies and I think I have a lot to offer now to any athlete that steps in the room with me and wants to take on the challenge of getting stronger.”
As Natyshak’s first time participating in the event, he says he’s going to try to bring out as many people as he can.
“I think we should always be leaders in this, and Rick is keeping us in the forefront.”