|Local Sears National Kids Cancer Rider, Matthew Thiessen, Arrives in Winnipeg Today - Crossing the Country Raising Money for Kids, Families|
WINNIPEG, Sep. 13, 2010 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --
The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists, including Winnipegger Matthew Thiessen, departed from Vancouver September 9(th) and arrive in Winnipeg today at Sears Polo Park Mall.
Their reasons for participating in this ride are all different. For some, it's personal; maybe they or a loved one has or had cancer. For Matthew, a pediatric cancer survivor, it is about giving something back.
Shortly before his first birthday, Matthew was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. He's been cancer-free for 31 years.
"I don't remember my treatments, but they were very difficult for my parents," Matthew says. "I returned yearly to CancerCare Manitoba for a blood-test and check-up until I was 18, and was always worried and anxious about these visits, as I'm sure my parents were. I knew I had cancer, but didn't start to understand the significance until I was a teenager.
"As I became an adult I realized how truly fortunate I was. I began to look back on those hospital visits as an important continuation of my journey, not as the scary inconvenience they were to me as a little boy. And I wanted to be able to give something back because I felt extremely grateful for the care I'd received, but couldn't find a meaningful way to give back. Then I heard about the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride and I knew I wanted to participate and give back in this way. This is my way of giving back for all the excellent treatment and care I received from the cancer team," he adds.
All 42 cyclists are united in one cause - to raise money and awareness in the battle against childhood cancer. They will lead the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride in an over 7,000 km journey across Canada.
These national riders, who will traverse across the country in a relay-style ride, will be joined along the way by thousands of other community cyclists who will ride shorter distances, all united in the goal to improve the quality of life for children and their families, living with and beyond cancer.
Canadians can track the national ride and become a fan of Ben, Sears bear mascot, who is travelling with the riders 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=mf#
After dipping their wheels in the Pacific and departing White Rock, BC on September 9(th), the riders will arrive in Halifax on September 23(rd) , and ceremonially dip their wheels in the Atlantic to signal the end of the ride. The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride across Canada is the world's longest charitable cycling event on behalf of childhood cancer.
"Everyone has the same reason for participating," said Frank Rossi, Store Manager, Polo Park. "Whether riding across the country, joining a community ride, volunteering, donating, or, as in Sears case, sponsoring the ride, the reason for participating is the same: it's about helping kids and their families living with cancer and conducting research to increase the survival rate in the future. Sears is fully committed to the cause of pediatric oncology. Through the involvement of our associates and the vast network of Sears locations across the country, we're proud that we can raise awareness and money for research, treatment and support for children and their families."
The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride will fund programs that improve the lives of children living with cancer as well as those recovering from the physical and emotional scars that can be part of survivorship. Money raised will be used to fund both national and provincial pediatric hematology and oncology research programs.
"We are grateful to Sears and Coast to Coast Against Cancer for bringing this unique event to Winnipeg. The funds and awareness they are raising will make a significant impact in the fight against pediatric cancer, and the heroic effort of all the participants - cyclists, volunteers, ride organizers and sponsors alike - will make a world of difference to our patients and their families," said Dr. Sara Israels, Head of Pediatric Oncology at CancerCare Manitoba.
Now in its third year, the last two rides raised $2.6 million with $1,520,000 given to the Canadian Council of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Directors (a group of hospitals known as the C17), the national organization representing all 17 pediatric hematology/oncology programs across Canada. The balance of $1,080,000 was distributed to pediatric oncology centres across Canada to support initiatives at the local level. This year's goal is to raise $1.5 million.
"Money raised is critical in helping fund programs that can improve the survival rates and the quality of life for children fighting this horrible disease," said Jeff Rushton, Founder of Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation (CTCACF), a volunteer-based registered Canadian charitable foundation focused on improving health outcomes and quality of life of children and families impacted by cancer . The Foundation develops and conducts events like the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride in communities across Canada. "With each kilometer pedaled, collectively we will enrich the quality of life of Canadian children burdened by this devastating disease. Every donation helps another child to just be able to be a kid."
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.
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.
Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network of 197 corporate stores, 219 dealer stores, 31 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.
SOURCE: Sears Canada Inc.