Monday, July 17, 2023

The passing of an amazing person -



May 17, 1959 - June 19, 2023

Robb was remarkable his whole life. He was the fourth in a family of five siblings (Kim, Barbara, Liz and Peter) and from the day he was born on May 17, 1959, he started to make his mark on the world, little knowing, that in his lifetime he would become 'the first in the world' on many stages.

In his youth, Robb excelled in all sports through his singular focus. As a freestyle skier, performing aerial flips, he always challenged himself to go higher and further. Robb loved soccer and golf but, also taught himself to embroider, embellishing a jacket with a colourful giant he'd drawn himself. He proudly wore it until he framed it as the piece of art is was.

After his accident, from which he emerged as the 'first in the world', to survive a C2 spinal cord injury, ventilator dependent. Robb began his journey to become the world's most positive minded man with the ability to look at life through a lens, that made him truly believe, if he just put his mind to it, he could find a way to make the impossible, possible and, he did just that.

Robb yearned to leave hospital, have his own room with a door and music. So, again he put his mind to creating the world's first independent living space for high-level quadriplegics. Everyone said it couldn't be done but, he did it and, that's where he met and fell in love with Sarah. They married and had twin girls Emma and Sophia, who have grown into very accomplished young women. Over the years raising a family, Robb became a proficient painter with his paintings widely collected both in Canada and internationally. Some of his paintings became part of a book titled "If Sarah Will Take Me" and accompany a poem by Dave Bouchard. Robb's paintings were made into prints that Variety Club auctioned for its annual charity fund raisers.

Robb was awarded the prestigious National Achievement Award by the Mother's March of Dimes and Easter Seals and honoured on centre ice at a Canuck's game when he donated his painting of 'The Canuck House'. Calona Wines produced the Dunfield-Soon wine series with Robb's paintings featured on the wine labels. The last big project Robb undertook was a large mural for the lobby of the Blusson Spinal Cord Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital.

Robb's life was full of love and respect and all who met him were enchanted by his gentle manner and bright smile. In the early days after his accident, he travelled all through North America educating the public on the importance of independent living for the disabled. As part of his Above and Beyond program he toured public schools in the lower Mainland and captivated the attention of the children with his motivational speeches. Robb, an intelligent, kind and caring man spoke at medical conferences and was honoured with the Courage to Come Back Award. He created the Ambassador program for the Rick Hansen Foundation in which, he played a meaningful role as Ambassador for many years.

Above all, Robb loved his family and his home and was happiest spending time with them in the garden or working on a project. His ideas were big and bold whether for education, renovations, landscaping or a vacation. We will all miss time spent with Robb, the best listener, always wanting to hear what we were doing, encouraging our hopes and dreams.

Robb is indelibly etched on our hearts and we will never forget his unbreakable spirit. He defied all odds and left an awe-inspiring legacy of perseverance in his mighty will to live.
There will be a celebration of life in August.