50 Cyclists Begin Ride Across the Country for Kids With Cancer as Sears Ride For Kids Cancer Kicks Off in Vancouver

    VANCOUVER, June 2 /CNW/ - As the sun rose over the Pacific in (downtown)
Vancouver today, a group of 50 cyclists began a marathon 19-day ride across
Canada to help raise money and awareness for kids with cancer. The Sears
National Kids Cancer Ride will cover 7,600 km before the riders reach their
destination on the Atlantic coast in Halifax on June 20th, having raised
much-needed funds and awareness for kids with cancer.
    At a special launch ceremony in Vancouver today, Canadians were
encouraged to lend their support to the riders as they come through their
local cities and towns. Riders gathered at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver to dip
their bicycle tires in the Pacific ocean, before heading to BC Children's
Hospital to sign a giant greeting card for the young patients. A bagpiper
played as the riders departed the hospital on their way to Halifax.
    Among the 50 riders who left Vancouver today is courageous 16-year-old
Andy Brooks of Oakville, ON, a cancer survivor whose 13-year battle with the
disease and the cures to keep him alive left him legally blind and with
intractable epilepsy. With the help of other riders, Andy will complete his
journey on a tandem bike.
    "I'm looking forward to every minute of the 456 hours it should take to
cross the country," said Andy, who was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was
just 3 years old. "Even if this makes a difference to just one other kid like
me, it will be worth it. 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 riders
and coming out to greet them on their journey. The ride, organized by Coast to
Coast Against Cancer Foundation and Sears Canada, is expected to raise
$1.5 million for children living with and beyond cancer. Along the route,
national riders will be 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. National
riders will be signing a giant card at stops at every Canadian children's
hospital as a symbol of love and hope for all children battling cancer.
    This challenge - one of the largest fundraising events on behalf of
childhood cancer in the world - is no small feat, both for the national riders
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 the kids who suffer from it and their families, I know the
funds from this event will positively impact this battle, both locally and
nationally," said Dr. Paul Rogers, Medical Director and Division Head at BC
Children's Hospital.
    "The mission of our Foundation has been to create high quality, physical
events to raise needed funding for worthy childhood cancer charities," said
Jeff Rushton, co-founder of Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation. "The
inaugural 2008 Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, in partnership with Sears
Canada, 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 riders 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 riders 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
in their battle," said Dene Rogers, President & CEO, Sears Canada. "This is an
important cause to our customers and associates, and we are pleased to play a
leading role in bringing increased awareness and funding to it."

    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% of donations
from individual donors directly to the programs it supports and it does not
make use of 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.

    /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: Patricia Robitaille, (604) 873-0080

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