|The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride Arrives in Toronto|
|TORONTO, Jun 13, 2008 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX News Network) -- A group of 50 determined cyclists, including a teen cancer survivor, pedalled into Toronto today in their marathon 7,600 km ride across Canada to raise money and awareness for kids cancer. It's all part of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride that began in Vancouver on June 2 and is scheduled to conclude June 20th in Halifax.
The riders' first major stop in the city is at the The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids), where they are asking the public to help them in signing a life-size (4x5 foot) card as a symbol of love and hope for all children battling cancer. For the riders, these young patients are their inspiration, and for one rider in particular, 16-year-old Andy Brooks of Oakville, ON, he knows all too well how much these kids need support. He has experienced a 13-year battle with cancer, and its treatments left him legally blind and with intractable epilepsy.
"I've spent a lot of time in hospitals, so I know what it is like," said Andy, who is completing his journey across the country on a tandem bike with the help of other cyclists. "That's why this ride is so important for me. It has been a very long trip so far, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. When you have cancer, it means a lot to have people around helping in any way they can. By supporting this ride, you're helping."
Canadians can support the ride by donating through pledges to the cyclists and by coming out to greet them on their journey. Following the ceremony at Sick Kids today, the riders are heading to Trinity Square at the Eaton Centre for a public ceremony. They will be greeted by dignitaries, including Ontario's Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable David C. Onley and Toronto Mayor David Miller, and be treated to a free concert by such artists as Hello Beautiful, Crash Parallel, Fairground, Photocell and The Flints.
The ride, organized by Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation and Sears Canada Inc., is expected to raise $1.5 million for children living with and beyond cancer. Along the route, national cyclists have been joined by supporters and hundreds of other cyclists who have registered for shorter 25 and 100+ km community rides as they stop at Sears locations and pediatric oncology centres across the country. This challenge - the largest fundraising event of its kind in the world - is no small feat, both for the national cyclists and the pediatric oncology centres that will benefit from the funds raised from this event.
"As someone who, on a daily basis, sees the devastating effects this disease can have on both the kids who suffer from it and their families who care for them, I see the need for these funds and the potential impact they could have on these families. I am grateful for the heroic effort these cyclists, volunteers, ride organizers and sponsors are making on their behalf," said Dr. Victor Blanchette, Chief, Division of Haematology/Oncology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Toronto and Chair, Canadian Council of Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Directors.
"The mission of our Foundation has been to create high quality events that promote healthy, active living to raise funds for worthy childhood cancer charities," said Jeff Rushton, co-founder of Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation. "On June 2, 2008 on a beach in Vancouver, we launched the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, in partnership with Sears Canada. As we cycle thousands of kilometres across Canada building awareness and enthusiasm along the way, each pedal stroke symbolizes our determination and commitment to improve the survival rate and quality of life for children impacted by cancer. I am humbled and truly grateful to all of our corporate sponsors, volunteers and cyclists who have made the event possible."
Money raised by community rides and special events will be directed to the local pediatric oncology centres across the country, while donations raised by the national cyclists will support national pediatric oncology initiatives in three major areas of need: research, education and transition and survivorship.
"We are proud to support this event to help young kids across the country living with and beyond this terrible disease," said Dene Rogers, President & CEO, Sears Canada. "This is an important cause to our customers and associates, and we are honoured to play a leading role in bringing increased awareness and funding to it."
Pledges can also be made by calling toll-free 1-800-26-SEARS.
Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation is a national charitable foundation dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life of children living with and beyond cancer. The foundation runs a number of high quality, physically challenging local, regional and national events that raise funds directed towards pediatric oncology research, survivorship and support programs. Through its volunteer-based operating model and corporate sponsorships, the foundation's objective is to distribute 100 per cent of donations from individual donors directly to the programs it supports, it does not use professional fundraisers. The foundation runs or is affiliated with a number of events including Tour For Kids Ontario, Tour For Kids Alberta, The Inside Ride, Ride for Karen, and the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride across Canada.
Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network of 196 corporate stores, 179 dealer stores, 61 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations, 106 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance, repair, and installation network. The Company also publishes Canada's most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping online at www.sears.ca.
For more information, to register as a rider or a volunteer, or to make a donation, visit www.searsnationalkidscancerride.com or call 1.866.381.4446.
SOURCE: Sears Canada Inc.
John McGrath, PR Communications Inc., (416) 876-3945, firstname.lastname@example.org; Eliana Cugini, Sears Canada, (416) 941-4426, email@example.com