The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride Arrives in Toronto



    TORONTO, June 13 /CNW/ - A group of 50 determined cyclists, including a
teen cancer survivor, pedalled into Toronto today in their marathon 7,600 km
ride across Canada to raise money and awareness for kids cancer. It's all part
of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride that began in Vancouver on June 2 and
is scheduled to conclude June 20th in Halifax.
    The riders' first major stop in the city is at the The Hospital for Sick
Children (Sick Kids), where they are asking the public to help them in signing
a life-size (4x5 foot) card as a symbol of love and hope for all children
battling cancer. For the riders, these young patients are their inspiration,
and for one rider in particular, 16-year-old Andy Brooks of Oakville, ON, he
knows all too well how much these kids need support. He has experienced a
13-year battle with cancer, and its treatments left him legally blind and with
intractable epilepsy.
    "I've spent a lot of time in hospitals, so I know what it is like," said
Andy, who is completing his journey across the country on a tandem bike with
the help of other cyclists. "That's why this ride is so important for me. It
has been a very long trip so far, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. When
you have cancer, it means a lot to have people around helping in any way they
can. By supporting this ride, you're helping."
    Canadians can support the ride by donating through pledges to the
cyclists and by coming out to greet them on their journey. Following the
ceremony at Sick Kids today, the riders are heading to Trinity Square at the
Eaton Centre for a public ceremony. They will be greeted by dignitaries,
including Ontario's Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable David C. Onley and
Toronto Mayor David Miller, and be treated to a free concert by such artists
as Hello Beautiful, Crash Parallel, Fairground, Photocell and The Flints.
    The ride, organized by Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation and Sears
Canada Inc., is expected to raise $1.5 million for children living with and
beyond cancer. Along the route, national cyclists have been joined by
supporters and hundreds of other cyclists who have registered for shorter 25
and 100+ km community rides as they stop at Sears locations and pediatric
oncology centres across the country. This challenge - the largest fundraising
event of its kind in the world - is no small feat, both for the national
cyclists and the pediatric oncology centres that will benefit from the funds
raised from this event.
    "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 who
care for them, 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. Victor Blanchette, Chief, Division of Haematology/Oncology,
The Hospital for Sick Children, Professor of Paediatrics, University of
Toronto and Chair, Canadian Council of Paediatric Haematology/Oncology
Directors.
    "The mission of our Foundation has been to create high quality events
that promote healthy, active living to raise funds for worthy childhood cancer
charities," said Jeff Rushton, co-founder of Coast to Coast Against Cancer
Foundation. "On June 2, 2008 on a beach in Vancouver, we launched the Sears
National Kids Cancer Ride, in partnership with Sears Canada. As we cycle
thousands of kilometres across Canada building awareness and enthusiasm along
the way, each pedal stroke symbolizes our determination and commitment to
improve the survival rate and quality of life for children impacted by cancer.
 I am humbled and truly grateful to all of our corporate sponsors, volunteers
and cyclists who have made the event possible."
    Money raised by community rides and special events will be directed to
the local pediatric oncology centres across the country, while donations
raised by the national cyclists will support national pediatric oncology
initiatives in three major areas of need: research, education and transition
and survivorship.
    "We are proud to support this event to help young kids across the country
living with and beyond this terrible disease," said Dene Rogers, President &
CEO, Sears Canada. "This is an important cause to our customers and
associates, and we are honoured to play a leading role in bringing increased
awareness and funding to it."
    Pledges can also be made by calling toll-free 1-800-26-SEARS.
    Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation is a national charitable
foundation dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life of
children living with and beyond cancer. The foundation runs a number of high
quality, physically challenging local, regional and national events that raise
funds directed towards pediatric oncology research, survivorship and support
programs. Through its volunteer-based operating model and corporate
sponsorships, the foundation's objective is to distribute 100 per cent of
donations from individual donors directly to the programs it supports, it does
not use professional fundraisers. The foundation runs or is affiliated with a
number of events including Tour For Kids Ontario, Tour For Kids Alberta, The
Inside Ride, Ride for Karen, and the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride across
Canada.
    Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network of 196 corporate
stores, 179 dealer stores, 61 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalogue
merchandise pick-up locations, 106 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, PR Communications Inc., (416)
876-3945, john@prcommunicationsinc.com; Eliana Cugini, Sears Canada, (416)
941-4426, ecugini@sears.ca


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