Cycling charity 'Ride for Karen' gives back while pedaling

-- A Toronto charity, Ride for Karen is an annual bike ride that has raised more than $1.8 million to support kids with cancer --

TORONTO, Sept. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Cyclists from across Ontario took to the roads through valleys and farmlands north of Toronto on Sunday for the 11th annual Ride for Karen, a charity bike ride that has raised more than $1.8 million to help send children with cancer to camp.

One of Ontario's premier cycling events, this year Ride for Karen participants raised more than $200,000 for the cause and thanks to Scotiabank's long standing support for the operation of the event Ride for Karen organizers were once again able to donate all proceeds to help send children with cancer to camp.

"For over a decade hundreds of cyclists, including many Scotiabankers, have participated in the Ride for Karen to honour friends and family affected by cancer," says Phil Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Global Banking & Markets at Scotiabank.  "Through our Scotiabank Bright Future philanthropic program we are proud to help the Ride for Karen continue providing much-needed support to those whose lives have been touched by cancer."

Cycling enthusiasts Kirk and Kris Tobias started the charity after their mother, Karen, passed away following a five-year battle with breast cancer in 2002. The idea for the Ride for Karen started when the brothers got a few friends together for a long bike ride to clear their heads after their loss.

"The truth is, everyone has a Karen. Even at the very end of her life, our mother was dedicated to others. Karen wanted to improve the quality of life of cancer patients by improving hope and the Ride for Karen is a way to build this hope," says Kirk Tobias. "As a cancer patient, our mom knew that hospitals were a hard place to spend a lot of time, especially for a child, which is why Ride for Karen raises money to give them memorable experiences through recreational activities at camp. Kids deserve the opportunity to enjoy just being kids, and every year we work hard to make this happen."

In Canada, approximately 1,400 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and another 10,000 are already living with cancer or its long-term effects.

"Without the support of Scotiabank and the help from dozens of sponsors and volunteers, Ride for Karen would not be possible. From the local police of York, Peel, South Simcoe and the Ontario Provincial Police who donate their time, to the generous volunteers making sandwiches and baking cookies for participants, we are enormously thankful to all involved. The support we receive from the community year after year makes Ride for Karen the successful family event that it is," says Tobias.

Ride for Karen featured a century (160km) ride for advanced riders, 100km ride for intermediate riders, 25km ride for recreational riders, and a Kids Fun Ride for children 2-12 years of age.

Participants raised money to help send kids with cancer to camp and many rode in memory of a child or loved one affected by cancer. In 2012, the recipient charities are Camp Quality Canada, Camp Oochigeas and Camp Trillium.  For more information, please visit

About Ride for Karen

Started in 2002, Ride for Karen is an annual cycling event that is held as a tribute to the life and legacy of Karen Tobias and to raise money for charities that help people living with cancer, and those who care for them. Over the past eleven years, Ride for Karen has raised over $1.8 million which has been used to help build and furnish new cancer care facilities, provide much needed resources for cancer support centres and send kids with cancer to camp.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, Scotiabank Bright Future.  Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $45 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at

SOURCE: Scotiabank - Sponsorships & Donations

For further information:

Kara Merpaw Scotiabank media Communications

Laura Arlabosse-Stewart / Kay West


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