|36 Cyclists Riding Across the Country for Kids Cancer Arrive in Toronto Saturday|
|TORONTO, Jun 19, 2009 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- Sears National Kids Cancer Ride
The 36 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists riding across the country to raise money and awareness for kids cancer arrive in Toronto Saturday. The cyclists embarked on the world's longest charitable cycling event on behalf of childhood cancer on June 13th from Vancouver. They're scheduled to complete the 7,000 km journey in Halifax June 24th.
The cyclists arrive in Toronto at approximately 3:30 p.m. with a brief ceremony outside the Sears store at Sherway Gardens. The public is invited to participate by coming to cheer on the riders, or to bring their bikes along and join part of the community ride-along with the national riders. Young cancer survivors participating in the ceremony will add their hand prints to national riders' t-shirts, a symbolic gesture of support that began in Vancouver and continues in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.
After the Sherway Garden event, the riders head to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto under police escort. Canadians can track the national ride and become a fan of Ben, Sears bear mascot, who is 'along for this coast to coast ride' and is posting daily reports on his Facebook fan page, Bens-Reports-on-Sears-National-Kids-Cancer-Ride.
The site is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bens-Reports-on-Sears-National-Kids-Cancer-Ride/105812163828?ref=mfNo.
Last year, the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride raised $1.1 million from Canadians to fund both national and provincial pediatric haematology and oncology research programs. This year, the event hopes to increase that amount and is calling on all Canadians to participate to help achieve this goal.
National rider Ken Cross has a daughter who has had cancer since she was four years old. She is now five and still fighting. That is incentive enough for Cross, a Kingston, Ontario resident to join 35 other riders in cycling across Canada this month in the second annual Sears National Kids Cancer Ride to raise awareness and funds in the battle against childhood cancer. "It will be grueling, but nowhere near how difficult it is for a youngster to fight this disease daily," says Cross, a Sears Human Resource Manager who began training for the ride seven months ago. "For me, and I think for all of the riders, this ride is an endeavour from the heart. It's symbolic of the struggle these kids and their families face, and with the funds raised, it can make a difference."
"Sears is fully committed to the cause of pediatric oncology as a Company," said Dene Rogers, President & CEO, Sears Canada. "Through the involvement of our associates and the vast network of Sears locations across the country, we can raise awareness, money for research and treatment and support for children and their families who are dealing with these devastating diseases." Mr. Rogers, who rode with the national riders from Vancouver to Calgary, will be riding from Woodstock, ON to SickKids today and from Pickering to Belleville tomorrow.
The funds raised in the inaugural Sears National Kids Cancer Ride last year was the largest single donation received by the Canadian Council of Pediatric Haematology/Oncology Directors (a group of hospitals known as the C17), the national childhood cancer organization representing all 17 pediatric haematology/oncology programs across the country. Of the $1.1 million raised, $770,000 was given to C17 to fund national pediatric haematology and oncology research. The balance of $330,000 was distributed to pediatric oncology centres across Canada to support initiatives in childhood cancer at the local level.
Canadians are encouraged to join the national riders in shorter 'ride-alongs' as they pass through their local communities. Riders will stop at select Sears locations and pediatric oncology centres across the country where they will join local riders and meet kids at various hospitals who are living with cancer.
"Helping these kids and their families is the focus of our efforts," said Jeff Rushton, Founder of the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation (CTCACF). "The donations raised are critical in helping to fund programs that can improve the survival rates and the quality of life for children fighting this horrible disease." The Foundation, which conducts the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, is a volunteer-based registered Canadian charitable foundation focused on improving health outcomes and quality of life of children and families impacted by cancer.
Cancer is the leading cause of non-accidental death in children in Canada. Each year, about 1,400 children are diagnosed with cancer. More children die of cancer each year than asthma, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and congenital anomalies combined. Childhood cancer is very different from adult cancer and places its own unique demands on our healthcare system. The treatment and cure for these children is a 24/7 process, often over a period of 2-3 years, the effects of which can smother childhood.
"On behalf of all doctors and health care professionals working in the field of childhood cancer care in Canada, I give my full support to this tremendous initiative and applaud all those that contribute by riding, fundraising, volunteering and, especially, donating to improve the quality of life for our children with cancer," said Dr. Victor Blanchette, Chief, Haematology/Oncology, The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) and Chair C17 Council.
Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network of 198 corporate stores, 193 dealer stores, 40 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations, 108 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, (416) 876-3945, firstname.lastname@example.org