Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 05, 2006

Wheels in Motion Set to Roll Sunday

Wheels in Motion returns to the University of Guelph campus Sunday, June 11, to raise money and awareness for people with spinal cord injuries.

The event, which begins at noon at the University’s W. F. Mitchell Athletics Centre, was started by Olympic wheelchair champion Rick Hansen. It involves people obtaining pledges and then walking, biking, wheeling or running a 2.5-kilometre course on campus.

About half of the funds raised stay in the host community to fund high-priority needs and services; the remaining funds go to support national spinal cord research. Locally, the funding has gone to provide services, assistance and resources to people with spinal cord injuries.

At the Guelph event, there will be numerous activities throughout the day geared towards families and children, including a free barbecue, children’s arts and crafts area, basketball, balloon-animal making, and a visit from Spike, the mascot for the Guelph Storm hockey team.

“Wheels in Motion is about more than raising awareness and improving the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries,” says Cyndy McLean, director of U of G’s Health and Performance centre and one of the Guelph event organizers. “It's also about inspiring those around you to make a difference, and that's exactly what people have done by supporting this event.”

McLean, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Guelph three years ago, is a national ambassador for the Rick Hansen foundation. She was recently honoured for her involvement in Wheels in Motion and Foundation with a YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

Wheels in Motion events are held in hundreds of communities across Canada and are run entirely by volunteers. U of G is the primary sponsor of the Guelph event. President Alastair Summerlee will participate again this year in a wheelchair. Today, he is spending the day in a wheelchair to help raise awareness of the June 11 event and the challenges faced by people living with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities.

In the past two years, more than 300 people have taken part in the Guelph Wheels in Motion either as individuals or as part of a team, raising more than $40,000. The Health and Performance Centre team, headed by McLean, raised more than $24,000 of that amount. Last year, the team raised the second-highest amount of money of any team in Canada. As a prize, the team was awarded a wheelchair, which went to Guelph elementary school student Terry Song, whose father, Leo Song, works for U of G’s Computing and Communication Services.

Registration for this year's event begins at 11 a.m. at the Athletics Centre. For more information, contact McLean at or Guelph Wheels in Motion chair Donna Leigh White at
Information is also available online.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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