The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists reach their final destination of Halifax today



    HALIFAX, June 20 /CNW/ - Through wind and rain, minor bumps and scrapes,
and even the occasional black bear sighting, a group of 50 determined
cyclists, including a teen cancer survivor, pedalled into Halifax today
concluding 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.
    Throughout their journey, these riders - some of them cancer survivors
themselves - have stopped in towns and communities across the country, hearing
Canadians tell their stories about their experiences with cancer.
    For the riders, young patients are their inspiration. One rider in
particular, 16-year-old Andy Brooks of Oakville, ON, 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, 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 have supported the ride by donating through pledges to the
cyclists and by coming out to greet them as these intrepid cyclists arrived in
their cities and towns.
    The riders celebrated their grand finale at a community event at the
Sears Canada store, Halifax Shopping Centre. The celebration then continued at
the IWK Health Centre with the riders signing a giant card to leave at the IWK
as a reminder of their contribution to kids living with and beyond cancer.
    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 were joined by supporters
and hundreds of other cyclists who 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 children and adolescents 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
remarkable effort these cyclists, volunteers, ride organizers and sponsors are
making on their behalf," said Dr. Mark Bernstein, Head of the Division of
Hematology-Oncology at the IWK Health Centre and Professor of Pediatrics at
Dalhousie University in Halifax.
    "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 cycled
thousands of kilometres across Canada building awareness and enthusiasm along
the way, each pedal stroke symbolized 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 or to make a donation, visit
www.searsnationalkidscancerride.com.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Catherine Hebb, Bristol Group, (902) 491-2540,
chebb@bristolgroup.ca; Eliana Cugini, Sears Canada, (416) 941-4426,
ecugini@sears.ca


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