McPherson of Edmonton, Alberta is without a doubt a man unique among
men. Born in 1946, he contracted polio during the ravaging epidemic
of 1955 and ended up in an iron lung with a tracheotomy for two years.
His life hung in the balance thereafter. He remains a quadriplegic,
with just enough coarse movement in his left hand to click a mouse and
enough strength in his left leg to push his wheelchair backwards a few
feet. As a teenager he learned "frog breathing" to make up
for a paralyzed diaphragm.
his 34 years in hospital he learned amateur radio, computer programming
and coached a mixed slow-pitch ball team to championship level. He served
in several executive positions with the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association.
As general manager, he took the Alberta Northern Lights Wheelchair Basketball
Team from a recreational group of players to become one of the top teams
in North America.
met Gary in 1995 at the University of Alberta Convocation when he was
awarded an Honourary Degree and gave the convocation address. At that
time he was chairman of the Premier's Council for the Status of People
with Disabilities, an advisory body to the Alberta Government. In 1998
he retired from the job after 10 years.
is now a professor in the Faculty of Business at the University of Alberta,
and executive-director of the newly-formed Canadian Centre for Social
the basement of his modest Edmonton home are enough trophies, awards
and plaques to fill a large display case.
can't feed himself, comb his hair or go to the toilet without help.
Yet he has overcome massive obstacles to achieve things far beyond the
capabilities of most of us. Bob Chelmick, former news anchorman for
Edmonton's CBC-TV, has described Gary's career as a "powerfully
inspiring story." Now a producer, Bob is preparing a documentary
wrote about Gary McPherson because I firmly believe that his is a remarkable
story about a remarkable man who over the years has overcome a huge
handicap and gone on to live life to the full. I have been constantly
amazed how many lives he has touched and enriched.
here to read the Preface of Rolling On]
Gerald W. Hankins. All rights reserved.
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