36 Cyclists Riding Across the Country for Kids Cancer Arrive in Toronto Saturday



    Sears National Kids Cancer Ride

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - 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.





For further information:

For further information: John McGrath, (416) 876-3945,
john@prcommunicationsinc.com


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