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Sears National Kids Cancer Ride Cyclists to depart White Rock in Ride Across Canada To Raise Funds During September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

VANCOUVER, Sep. 6, 2011, 2011 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --

Fifteen national relay riders are cycling across Canada in the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride to help raise money and awareness in the battle against childhood cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September. Now in its fourth year, the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is the longest charitable cycling event of its kind in the world.

They will depart White Rock on the morning of September 7(th. )The national riders will ride relay-style across the country before arriving in Halifax on September 22(nd), completing a journey that will take them over 7,000 km. Seven regional relay riders will accompany them on their 566 km trek through British Columbia.

The day before the Ride begins cyclists will visit current and former oncology patients at BC Children's Hospital, on the front lawn of the Child & Family Research Institute. The children will interact with riders by writing and drawing messages of encouragement on riders' T-shirts and giving the riders inspiration to begin their epic journey the next day.

Nanaimo Sears Store Manager, Thomas Gemma, will be among the riders. His own daughter was born premature, an experience that brought the battle parents face when their child is gravely ill clearly into focus. "My daughter is sixteen now, and I am grateful that things turned out so well for us. But I have lots of empathy for parents with a sick child. It can take years to fight cancer, and that's a big part of your childhood," says Gemma.

Hundreds of other community cyclists are expected to join the national and relay riders along their journey through BC as the cyclists pass through their cities and towns - all united in the goal to improve the quality of life for children and their families living with and beyond cancer.

"This ride is all about helping kids and their families overcome cancer," says Lauren Veitch, Regional Vice-President, Corporate Stores, Sears Canada. "We're proud to help support the Ride by raising awareness and money for research and treatment through the involvement of our associates and the vast network of Sears locations across the country."

Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in children in Canada. More than 1,800 children receive cancer treatment or follow-up care at BC Children's Hospital annually, making more than 7,600 trips to the Hospital in a year. Approximately 100 BC kids are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. Leukemias, brain and other nervous system tumours, lymphomas (lymph node cancers), bone cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, kidney cancers, eye cancers, and adrenal gland cancers are the most common cancers of children.

"The importance of initiatives like the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cannot be overstated in the support of childhood cancer research and programs in Canada," says Dr. Mason Bond, Division Head of Pediatric Hematology Oncology BMT at BC Children's Hospital. "When it comes to children, care and treatment are about more than just the child. It's an ongoing and lengthy process that involves the whole family. We rely on the funds and awareness from events like this to continue to improve outcomes for the kids across BC and Canada."

As the riders stop at many Sears outlets across the country, Canadians will have an opportunity to meet and encourage the riders and sign specially designed T-shirts that the national riders will put on at each community event.The goal is to have these T-shirts completely covered with signatures and messages at the end of their journey when they arrive Halifax.

Canadians can also track the 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 called Adventures with Ben the Sears Charity Bear on www.facebook.com/benthesearsbear.

The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride has helped raise over $4 million for 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 and for pediatric oncology centres across Canada to support initiatives at the local level.This year's goal is $1.2 million.

Along with national initiatives money raised by the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride will also fund provincial pediatric hematology and oncology research programs, including those at BC Children's Hospital, 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.

"While September may be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, for children suffering with cancer, this disease is a year-round battle," said Jeff Rushton, Founder, 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. "Money raised is critical in helping fund programs to improve the survival rates and quality of life for children fighting this horrible disease."

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 that includes 196 corporate stores, 272 hometown dealer stores, 33 home improvement showrooms, 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.

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2011/06/c8110.html

SOURCE: Sears Canada Inc.

Patricia Robitaille   Eliana Cugini     O: 604-873-0080   Sears Canada     C:
604-230-0530   ecugini@sears.ca     probitaille@shaw.ca   416-941-4426