17th Manulife Bike and Hike for Heart set to raise $200,000 for St. Mary's Hospital Regional Cardiac Care Centre



    Donations exceed $2.7 million for local heart health

    WATERLOO, ON, June 2 /CNW/ - More than 1,200 cyclists and walkers are
limbered up and ready to boost Kitchener-Waterloo's heart health this weekend
as they take to the streets and paths to raise $200,000 for St. Mary's
Regional Cardiac Care Centre.
    Sponsored by Manulife Financial since 1993, this year's Bike and Hike
takes place Sunday, June 7. To date, the Bike and Hike has raised more than
$2.7 million for regional heart health, with $1.6 million directly benefiting
St. Mary's Cardiac Care Centre.
    "We're excited about this event and its direct support of cardiac care in
the region," said Paul Rooney, President and CEO Manulife Canada. "We are also
very proud of our volunteers and participants for helping us raise more than
$2.7 million dollars for local heart health."
    Moira Taylor, president of St. Mary's General Hospital, added: "We're
very appreciative for the community's ongoing support of the Manulife Bike and
Hike. It's important to our continued success in providing the best cardiac
care to our patients. Thanks to the efforts of the event's participants and
sponsors, we were able to accommodate more than 40,000 visits to our Regional
Cardiac Care Centre last year and look forward to continuing to deliver the
excellent care our patients deserve."
    Starting at RIM Park, this year's Bike and Hike includes 15- and
25-kilometre courses for all ranges of cycling skills. Walkers can follow a
three-, five-, or eight-kilometre trail in RIM Park. Cyclists will start at
9:30 a.m., while walkers start to stroll at approximately 9:45 a.m. Post-event
celebrations, including lunch, will continue until closing ceremonies start
around 10:15 a.m.
    The Manulife Bike and Hike for Heart (originally known as The Manulife
Ride for Heart) has grown and benefited from community-wide support from a
diverse group of individuals and companies. For 17 years walkers, cyclists,
supporters and volunteers have given their time, energy and donations to help
ensure quality heart care is available in Kitchener-Waterloo.
    All donations raised by participants in the Bike and Hike support St.
Mary's Regional Cardiac Care Centre. The event's operating costs are covered
by Manulife, other sponsors and registration fees.
    "Everyone at Manulife is proud to be involved in our local health care,"
added Mr. Rooney. "We're encouraging everyone to come out Sunday to support
the tremendous work being done at our local cardiac care centre."
    Organizers have their fingers crossed that everyone will hear the call
and come out to cycle or walk. There's still time to register. Call
519-88-HEART for details. You can also visit the Bike and Hike Web site at:
www.manulife.ca/bikeandhike or email us at bike&hikeforheart@manulife.com

    
    St. Mary's General Hospital
    ---------------------------
    
    St. Mary's General Hospital has served the local community for more than
eight decades. The hospital is known for carrying out the tradition of its
founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, offering excellent care,
compassionate service and a healing environment.
    St. Mary's is a member of St. Joseph's Health Care System, and affiliated
with the Father Sean O'Sullivan Research Centre and McMaster University,
Hamilton. Through these and other partnerships, the hospital ensures that care
is cost-effective, as well as carried out with skill, compassion, and
kindness.

    
    Manulife Financial
    ------------------
    
    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$405 billion
(US$322 billion) as at March 31, 2009.
    Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet
at www.manulife.com.


    
                                 BACKGROUNDER

    Manulife Bike and Hike for Heart
    --------------------------------

    -  Since 1993 the event has raised more than $2.7 million for heart
       health in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Since 2000, the event has
       directly supported the new Regional Cardiac Care Centre at St. Mary's
       Hospital.

    -  Participants include more than 1,000 people involved in "Corporate
       Challenge" teams (groups of cyclists and walkers from local businesses
       and organizations), including senior executives from Manulife and St.
       Mary's, 300 individual cyclists and walkers and more than 300
       volunteers.

    -  Starting at RIM Park, this year's Bike and Hike includes 15- and 25-
       kilometre courses for all cycling skills. Walkers can now follow
       either a three-, five- or eight-kilometre trail. Cyclists will start
       at 9:30 a.m., while walkers start to stroll at approximately 9:45 a.m.
       Post-event celebrations will include lunch and recognition of the
       day's top corporate, individual and family fundraisers.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Tom Nunn, Manulife Financial,
Tel: (519) 594-8578 (Cell No. on June 7 only, (519) 580-9517); Peter Sweeney,
President, St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation, Tel: (519) 749-6578


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