Seventh annual Toronto-Montreal bicycle "Ride for the Cure" raises funds for breast cancer research and inspires Novartis employees to keep themselves healthy

Return of cyclists this afternoon to Novartis headquarters
in Dorval is culmination of the Novartis Global "Be Healthy" program.

DORVAL, QC, Sept. 27, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Today's return of the team of 42 cyclists from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. at the end of their seventh annual "Ride for the Cure" from Toronto to Montreal will not just be a culmination of the fundraising event for breast cancer research, but also a celebration of good health - by all Novartis employees as well as by breast cancer survivors who will be the guests of honour.

The Novartis cyclists have been on the road since they left Toronto Saturday morning and, after overnight stops in Cobourg, Kingston and Cornwall, they will complete their 600-km journey this afternoon at the Novartis Canadian headquarters in Dorval. Their fundraising efforts this year will bring to almost $700,000 the total amount raised since 2005 by the event for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and its "Run for the Cure" campaign.

The celebration of their return will also be the culmination of a Be Healthy Celebration Week from September 19th through the 23rd, at Novartis that has been encouraging all employees to take charge of their health and to maintain healthy habits. This is part of a global initiative that brings together Novartis Group Company associates across 32 countries.

One of the breast cancer survivors who will speak at today's event is Novartis employee Karen Chow. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and, after two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, in June of this year celebrated six years of being cancer free and has become a volunteer "coach" to other women on the breast cancer journey.

"The unknown factors of the treatment - the future, the outcome - was what caused an incredible amount of stress, not only for me but perhaps even more so for my family," she remembers. "Even though when I regained health and went back to work the hectic pace of life quickly resumed, my perspective on how to live life has changed. Every year, my husband and I ensure we have a 'Celebrate Life' party with people close to us."

Other breast cancer survivors being recognized at the event will be Louise Bourdage, a former employee of Novartis and mother of current employee Pierre Bourdage, as well as Adonna Greaves, a Montreal crossfit and personal training center owner who partners with Novartis to provide fitness services to employees.

"We are all very proud of the efforts of the Ride for the Cure team to demonstrate the Novartis commitment to patients and to our community," said Dr. Riad Sherif B.,

President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. "They are a wonderful example to all our associates, and to everyone, of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as contributing to worthy causes that help our communities."

As part of the ceremony, a cheque representing this year's proceeds will be presented to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. "We congratulate everyone at Novartis involved with the Ride for the Cure for their commitment to this very successful fundraising event over the past seven years," said Nathalie Le Prohon, chair of the Foundation's board. "It makes a real difference in helping us in our efforts to understand and overcome breast cancer."

The Novartis Be Healthy Program

The Novartis Be Healthy program offers many opportunities to help associates take control of their personal health. This includes providing information, activities and tips to promote health and help prevent future health issues.

The program focuses on one of Be Healthy's four pillars: "Move," promoting more physical activity and less sedentary behaviour; "Choose" healthy foods and eat appropriately to keep in top shape; "Know" facts and numbers about your health status so that you can take control of your health; and "Manage," meaning take charge of your health and provide support for fellow associates with disabilities or illnesses to help them maintain or regain their ability to perform at home and at work.

The Be Healthy programs included a variety of activities, such as on-site screening clinics, physical fitness activities, a new healthy labeling system in the cafeteria and much more.

Novartis is focusing on prevention programs in Be Healthy because statistics from the World Economic Forum  show that workplace health and well-being programs addressing lifestyle changes can help prevent up to 40 per cent of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and lung disorders.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field, is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2010, the Company invested close to $100 million in research and development. As a long-time sponsor of the annual CIBC Run for the Cure, Novartis Canada has made a commitment to breast cancer research as well as supporting physician and patient awareness. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs more than 600 people in Canada. It was named for the seventh time as one of the "50 Best Employers in Canada" in 2011. For further information, please consult www.novartis.ca.

SOURCE NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS CANADA INC.

For further information:

Emmanuelle Vatel
HKDP Communications & Public Affairs
(514) 395-0375, ext. 234 / (514) 219-2764
evatel@hkdp.qc.ca

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NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS CANADA INC.

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