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Paralympic silver medalist Josh Dueck high fives for WorkSafe BC Raise Your Hand

Paralymipc silver medalist Josh Dueck high fives a fan on his way to breaking the Guinness World Record. Image by Patrick O'Neill

This past weekend, Paralympic silver medalist Josh Dueck spent 24 hours with no sleep and his right hand in the air to represent the WorkSafe BC Raise Your Hand. This movement empowers the province's young workers  to use the rights they have to keep them safe on the job.

Dueck wanted the community to "ban together for a good cause". So he spoke out by breaking the Guinness World Record for most high-fives by an individual in one day.

The previous record of 3,131 held by Black Rodgers from Rhode Island fell far short of Dueck's new record of 9,307. Dueck said afterward that his original goal was to aim for 10,000, the same number of young workers injured in BC each year.

Having grown up in BC, this was a particularly important issue for Dueck. While working as head coach for the Silver Star Freestyle Ski Club in Vernon, Dueck broke his back demonstrating a jump to his students and was paralyzed from the waist down. Dueck did not let the situation get him down even though he was just 23. He went on to win a silver medal in men's slalom during his Paralympic debut at the 2010 Winter Games.

Dueck celebrated after breaking the record

Reflecting on his latest record-breaking achievement Dueck said, “No matter what happens there's a lesson waiting to be found. Mine is a good story that serves as a vehicle...” He spoke passionately to the crowd at the PNE as they celebrated his victory. Dueck hopes the story of his workplace accident will serve as an example to others. He said that staying safe at work means you “know how to make the right choices and have confidence to speak out.”

So after 24 hours of no sleep and 9,307 high fives later, Paralympian Josh Dueck broke a world record and spoke out on behalf of WorkSafe BC and the Raise your Hand movement. During the after party Beat94.5 announcer Jonny Staub said “his hand might be hurting, but his heart is feeling full.”

Beat 94.5 DJs geared up the crowd at the PNE.

Volunteers helped guide people through the hive five procession line.

It was a challenge to wade through the crowds at the PNE.

The crowd celebratesd as the final high five was given.

*All images by Patrick O'Neill

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