Tiffiny Carlson

Reaching Canada’s Teens
“It’s all about turning negatives into positives,” says Kevin Brooks, a T1 paraplegic from Cloverdale, British Columbia, and one of the most well-known speakers from Canada. Injured in 2000 in a car accident he caused while intoxicated — and that also killed his best friend — Brooks did not become a speaker with an anti-drunk driving message overnight.

It took a lengthy process of introspection, including a chance meeting with Rick Hansen. “I was in the process of applying for the public relations program at Kwantlen College,” says Brooks. “I chose to interview Rick Hansen’s PR lady, who introduced me to Rick following our interview. Rick had a larger than life presence.”

Brooks was still struggling to accept being paralyzed. “Rick was instrumental in helping me see past the wheelchair.” From there, Brooks went on to do his first fundraiser in honor of Rick Hansen Foundation — swimming across his hometown lake — and after that he was pumped to do more.