Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Ten years ago, Richard Perrin, an Ottawa software engineer and
father of two, discovered a new passion in his life: motorcycling.
He signed up for an introductory motorcycle course at the Ottawa
Safety Council, went on to take part in bike tours in New
Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Maine, Newfoundland and England and
began rebuilding old bikes in his garage.
In August 2009 Richard's passion took a turn for the worst and
he was thrown 140 metres off his motorcycle at a speed of 160
kilometres an hour into a concrete wall on the backstretch of a
vintage motorcycle race. The accident left him with an incomplete
T5 spinal cord injury and unable to move or feel his legs.
Richard began rehabilitation treatment in September 2009 at the
Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre with strengthening and physiotherapy
sessions to adapt to his new way of life in a wheelchair. After
four months of learning the essential skills to live the rest of
his life as a paraplegic, doctors discovered subtle muscle movement
in his big toe showing that his body had regained some leg
While rehab continued, Richard discovered new ways of living a
healthy active lifestyle through recreational wheelchair
basketball, hand-cycling, and training towards competing in
triathlons. He also began to strengthen his core muscles and
learned to use a walker. His determination paid off when the
movement in his leg began to become controlled.
On October 28 2011, day 66 of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary
Relay, Richard began his 250 metre segment of the Relay in Nepean,
Ontario. With the support of his two daughters and wife Maureen and
months of work towards this day, Richard left behind his wheelchair
and walked the final 100 metres with the Rick Hansen Medal with
only two canes and an ankle brace.
Richard's story is one of many remarkable stories that make of
the 7,000 difference makers who are making their way across the
country as part of the nine month Rick Hansen Relay.
More Medal-Bearer stories