Cyclists To Ride Across Canada in Sears National Kids Cancer Ride To Raise Funds During September which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

TORONTO, Sept. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - 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.

The 15 national relay riders departed White Rock, BC on September 7th and are riding relay-style across the country before arriving in Halifax on September 22nd, completing a journey that will take them over 7,000 km.  Twenty-three regional relay riders, six of whom are Sears associates, will accompany them on their trek through Ontario.

Among the 15 national cyclists is 17-year-old cancer survivor Josh Nelson of Cambridge, Ontario, who is riding a tandem bike across Canada with partner Mark Burger of Georgetown, Ontario. Hundreds of other community cyclists are expected to join Josh and the national and relay riders along the way 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 cope with cancer," said Calvin McDonald, President & CEO, Sears Canada.  "We're proud to help support this 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. Each year, about 1,500 children are diagnosed with cancer, 25 per cent of which are treated at SickKids.  Over the last year, more than 375 patients were newly diagnosed with cancer at SickKids alone; there were 22,532 clinic visits for cancer-related treatments and 112 Blood and Marrow Transplants. 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 battle against childhood cancer," said Dr. David Malkin, Senior Staff Oncologist and Senior Scientist, SickKids. "With children and cancer, it touches not just the child, but the whole family. The treatment and care is an ongoing and lengthy process and we rely on the funds and awareness from events like this to continue to improve outcomes for the kids."

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 to raise $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 SickKids, 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.

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 in 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.

"While September may be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, for children suffering with cancer, this 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, 280 hometown dealer stores, 32 home services showrooms, over 1,700 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.

SOURCE Sears Canada Inc.

For further information:

Eliana Cugini              John McGrath
Sears Canada             john@prcommunicationsinc.com
ecugini@sears.ca            416-876-3945
416-941-4426

 


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