A gifted athlete and outdoor sports enthusiast, Luke Anderson’s life changed in the blink of an eye in the fall of 2002. He and a friend were tackling a mountain bike trail others had raved about and soon came across a 25-foot gap. His friend cleared the jump easily. Determined to give it a try, Luke soon followed but even though he was an experienced rider wearing all the requisite safety equipment he knew something was wrong the moment his bike left the ground.
In a split second Luke went from being a very physically independent person to someone who has become dependent on the help of others by necessity. He also found himself in a world that had suddenly created barriers for someone who needed a wheelchair to move about. Not one to be limited in anyway, Luke soon created the StopGap Foundation and a grassroots campaign to bring accessibility to the forefront.
Today Luke lives a very fulfilling life. He is a licensed professional structural engineer at Blackwell Structural Engineers, a leading engineering firm in Toronto and, of course, a cofounder of StopGap. He has enjoyed many speaking engagements at schools and businesses both as an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Institute as well as an independent presenter. Luke is also a volunteer bike mechanic at a do-it-yourself community bike shop and lives in downtown Toronto.Email Luke
The Ramp Man Storybook
Inspired by a live presentation that Luke performed at Summit Heights Public School in the spring of 2012, elementary school teacher Logan Anderson (who also happens to be Luke's sister) along with grade 6 students and Principal Thelma Sambrook produced a storybook called The Ramp Man.
The Ramp Man takes young readers through the life of Luke Anderson who was 24 years old when his life changed forever after sustaining a spinal cord injury while mountain biking in the interior of British Columbia.
After finding himself in a world not well designed for someone that uses a wheelchair, the story shows how optimism, perseverance and hope helped tackle the barriers around him.
The Ramp Man reminds us that together we can face challenges, break barriers and create communities that everyone can enjoy being a part of.Download the order form
"Luke's presentation about his new life inspired the most profound discussion with my students about the great impact the decisions we make in life can have on our future and that our situation in life amounts only to what we make of it. Luke's openness to address student curiosity, his genuine positivity and obvious drive to help others, be it in the realm of physical ease of accessibility or understanding of different life situations, truly struck a cord. It is a gift to have a presenter who can elicit such authentic and honest questions and reflections from 10 and 11 year olds. Thank you for your candour and strength!" Megan McGee, Grade 5/6 English, Allenby Public School
"Luke is a highly articulate, engaging speaker that connects well with students of all ages. He helps them make sense of what it means for someone to live life with a disability. His presentation focuses on the fact that we are more alike than different. He also helps students understand how they can support and advocate for change for those living with disabilities. Luke leaves a lasting impact on school communities and a desire to stay connected with the work he is doing to make their city more accessible." Thelma Sambrook, Principle, Bowmore Road Public School