04/12/2013 06:04 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Rick Hansen Foundation grants $20 million to spinal-cord research centre

VANCOUVER - Rick Hansen's foundation has announced a $20-million grant to accelerate research into spinal-cord injuries aimed at a paralysis-free world.

The money will be handed out over 10 years to the Vancouver-based Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, starting this month.

The centre was opened in 2008 and gathers researchers, medical professionals, physiotherapists and patients in one place.

Hansen says the money will develop and promote an international network for clinical trials and research and inform and empower people with spinal-cord injuries.

Bill Barrable of the Rick Hansen Institute says the money is a major step towards a world free of paralysis after spinal-cord injuries, something he believes can be accomplished in his lifetime.

The Rick Hansen Foundation was established in 1988 after the Man in Motion circled the globe in his wheelchair to raise awareness about spinal-cord injuries.