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Manitoba to spend $3M on spinal-cord injury research, support

Rick Hansen, right, shakes hands with Scott Coates, who lives with a spinal cord injury he received 22 years ago. Manitoba is investing $3 million  over five years with the Rick Hansen Foundation to help people with spinal cord injuries recover and return to their homes and jobs.

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Rick Hansen, right, shakes hands with Scott Coates, who lives with a spinal cord injury he received 22 years ago. Manitoba is investing $3 million over five years with the Rick Hansen Foundation to help people with spinal cord injuries recover and return to their homes and jobs. (KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

With Paralympian and philanthropist Rick Hansen looking on, the Manitoba government renewed its commitment today to funding local spinal-cord research and patient support for another five years.

Health Minister Erin Selby said the province would provide $3 million over the next five years. The cash continues work that’s been going on since 2008.

"We need to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to improve the care and support for people to help maximize the recovery, transition them successfully back into work and home but also to give them hope that life continues after a spinal cord injury," Selby told a news conference at the MTS Iceplex.

"This funding has helped to significantly increase employment and training opportunities and drastically reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers and other common complications of spinal cord injuries."

Hansen, whose foundation has raised more than $200 million for spinal cord-related injuries, beginning with his famous Man in Motion World Tour in the 1980s, said the funding will help connect scientists here with other cutting edge research across North America.

Part of the funding will go to help the work of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, which provides rehab and vocational counselling and other services for those with spinal cord injuries.

"We can make a difference one step at a time, one good turn at a time," Hansen said.

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