|Read the Vancouver Sun Article -|
Behind the Rick Hansen Foundation
I wish that I could feel content that our position was vindicated; that we weren't just angry cripples who were pissed off at Rick Hansen because we were paralysed, but saddened is the only emotion in my heart. Not just by the waste of money, but also because this kind of scandalous spending kills hope.
We spent a lot of time asking for transparency on cure funding, and I guess when they couldn't do that, alarm bells did sound in many of our heads. Was it because they simply weren't spending on a cure for chronic spinal cord injury, or was it just sheer arrogance on their part by refusing to share data they felt we had no right to ask for? We'll never know for sure, but this article clearly makes it look like it was both.
Still, we took the high road and didn't attack Hansen personally, we kept our eyes on the ball about chronic cure spending and regeneration. Our goal was not to discredit RHF or void Rick Hansen's contributions, but to make make sure that money was actually being spent on "a world without paralysis after spinal cord injury".
Even so, we were still castigated. We were told that we would hurt RHF's ability to raise donations and now ironically, it is RHF by their own hand which will kill off donations and make us suffer through a loss of research dollars for all organisations as stories like this hurt everyone. It is Rick Hansen, who had done so much, who has discredited himself and if he refuses to change will end voiding his own legacy.
Now it will be our job to rekindle hope. To demand a change of leadership. To demand money be spent on measurable outcomes, not "raising awareness". To demand more transparency and community involvement.
I hope that those who read this article don't come away cynical but rather become involved in demanding change from all organisations that raise funds in our name.