Meagan's Walk celebrates 10 years of creating hope

More than $2.5 million raised to date for brain tumour research at SickKids

TORONTO, May 8 /CNW/ - Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope announced today that this year's Mother's Day Walk brings its total funds raised for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to more than $2.5 million since 2001.

The 10th Annual Meagan's Walk, which is proudly presented by Swarovski, started at Ontario Place and ended with participants joining hands to form a human hug around SickKids. More than 3,000 people participated in the five-kilometre walk that promotes awareness and raises funds for research into paediatric brain tumours.

"This has been an amazing journey, with 10 years marking an incredible milestone for me, my family, and everyone who has participated in, supported and benefited from Meagan's Walk," said Denise Bebenek, founder of Meagan's Walk and mother of Meagan Bebenek, who passed away from a cancerous brain tumour in 2001.

"We are so grateful to the thousands of people who have helped us raise more than $2.5 million for paediatric brain tumour research. Along the way, Meagan's Walk has developed into a much larger phenomenon, giving hope and strength to children battling cancer and their families around the world, and empowering all children to reach out to them to offer their support," Mrs. Bebenek added.

Proceeds from Meagan's Walk activities over the past decade have supported research projects and programs at SickKids which has the only laboratory dedicated to paediatric brain tumour research in Canada.

"On behalf of everyone at SickKids, including our patients and families, and our researchers, we applaud the Bebenek family for their tremendous efforts in rallying thousands of supporters to participate and donate each year," said Ted Garrard, President and CEO, SickKids Foundation. "These fundraising results are an incredible feat for what started off as a grassroots community campaign 10 years ago."

Mothers with children currently at SickKids were honoured at the event and received a special gift from Swarovski. "We are very proud to be part of the circle of hope and provide our support to Meagan's Walk and The Hospital for Sick Children" said Wayne Page, vice president of Swarovski Canada.

A special tribute to the 10th anniversary included Our 10-Year Journey - the incredible story of the evolution of Meagan's Walk, narrated by Cynthia Dale, one of Canada's most respected and sought-after performers. Moms who are spending Mother's Day in Hospital with their children were honoured with hugs, flowers and gifts at a specially designated area called "Mother's Way."

Celebrities including members of the Toronto Argonauts, Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie, Deb McGrath and Kim Stockwood participated in a Wall of Honour at the Walk kick-off at Ontario Place.

About Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope
This dedicated organization raises hope and awareness about paediatric brain tumours and funds for research at SickKids which has the only program in Canada dedicated to paediatric brain tumour research.  Brain tumours are now the leading cause of cancer related death in children under the age of 20. For more information about Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope, call 416-239-7843 or visit www.meaganswalk.com

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE SickKids Foundation

For further information:

Media contacts:

Sandra Chiovitti
Media Relations
SickKids Foundation
Sandra.Chiovitti@sickkidsfoundation.com
416-813-8292
416-553-4198

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SickKids Foundation

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