Rolling On

The Story of the Amazing Gary McPherson


Gary McPherson contracted life-threatening polio during the epidemic of 1955 which left him a quadriplegic. He retains just enough coarse movement in his left hand to click a mouse and enough strength in his left leg to push his wheelchair backwards a few feet. Gary cannot feed himself or comb his hair. Yet his achievements are amazing. He is a husband and father, has coached championship sporting teams, is past-chairman of the Premier’s Council for the Status of People with Disabilities, and is currently both a lecturer in the School of Business at the University of Alberta and executive-director of the Canadian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.


  • Word Guild Writing Awards - Life Stories - Merit 2004


"In Rolling On: The Story of the Amazing Gary McPherson, Gary's story is true testament to the power of the human spirit. A true Canadian hero who has overcome incredible adversity. Through courage and determination, he has been able to redefine his possibilities and move from being confined in an institution to being independent as a husband, father and leader in society. Gary has made an amazing contribution to improving the quality of life of others. " Rick Hansen, C. C., O. B.C. , President & CEO, Rick Hansen Man In Motion Foundation

"Dr. Hankins, M. C., has picked a courageous and resolute Canadian to bio. Polio victim McPherson cannot feed himself, yet he moved from institutional life to raise a family, coach championship sports and contribute in many ways to a better life for people without disability. " Ron MacIsaac, Island NEWS (Victoria, BC)

"This is a small book but one packed with thought - why life is worth living and what we can do with whatever time is left. As the title declares, it's not an amazing story as much as a story of the amazing Gary McPherson. " Jerry Todd-Jenkins, Canada Post (UK)

"Read Rolling On and you will find yourself worrying less about the cold weather outside and thinking more about the warmth of your family. You will appreciate the human condition, which seemingly can conquer almost anything if the will is strong enough. " Susan Jones, St. Albert Gazette

"Dr. Gary McPherson is one of the most remarkable and inspirational people I have met in my life. He is a true Alberta leader and visionary. Gary's years of work with many organizations, including the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, contributes in countless ways toward improving the lives of Albertans, with or without disability. " Premier Ralph Klein

"[Rolling On] profiles ventilator user and respiratory polio survivor Gary McPherson, currently executive director of the Canadian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Alberta, Canada. The black and white photos are superb, supporting a well-written text that chronicles the polio epidemic in Canada, Gary's life and his drive for independent living. " Ventilator-Assisted Living Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2