36 Cyclists to Undertake 7,000 km Ride Across Canada to Battle Childhood Cancer



    Sears National Kids Cancer Ride

    CALGARY, June 15 /CNW/ - The 36 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists
departed from Vancouver June 13 and arrived in Calgary today at Sears
Marlborough Mall, arriving at their final destination, Halifax on June 24. The
Sears Ride across Canada is the world's longest charitable cycling event on
behalf of childhood cancer. When the cyclists arrive in Halifax, they will
have covered over 7,000 km.
    Four of the 36 National cyclists are from Alberta; Heather Jager, Delia,
Alberta; Tim Whitten and Bryan Dugid, Calgary, Alberta, and Gordon Drummond,
Peace River, Alberta. Albertans can also track the ride and become a fan of
Ben, Sears bear mascot, who is 'along for the coast to coast ride' and is
posting daily reports on facebook. To see Ben's reports, log on to Facebook
and check out his fan page by searching: Ben's Reports on Sears National Kids
Cancer Ride.
    Last year, the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride raised $1.1 million from
Canadians to fund both national and provincial pediatric hematology 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 plans to participate in various stages of the national
ride, including the launch in BC, riding from Vancouver to Calgary. Sears
Canada Chairman of the Board, William Crowley, is also riding this leg of the
tour.
    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 Hematology/Oncology Directors (a group of hospitals known as the
C17), the national childhood cancer organization representing all 17 pediatric
hematology/oncology programs across the country. Of the $1.1 million raised,
$770,000 was given to C17 to fund national pediatric hematology 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.
    "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.
    "As someone who, on a daily basis, sees the devastating effects this
disease can have on both the kids who suffer from it and their families, I see
the need for these funds and the potential impact they could have on these
families. I am grateful for the heroic effort these cyclists, volunteers, ride
organizers and sponsors are making on their behalf," said Dr. Strother,
director of the Southern Alberta Children's Hospital Cancer Program.

    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.
    Photograph to follow.





For further information:

For further information: Wendy Walker, (403) 813-4186,
Wendy-walker@shaw.ca


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