TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 05/12/12 -- Editors Note: Photos for this release are available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwire.
Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope announced today that this year's Mother's Day weekend Walk brings its total funds raised for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to more than $2.7 million since 2001.
The 11th Annual Meagan's Walk, which is proudly presented by Swarovski, started at Ontario Place and ended with participants joining hands to form a human hug around SickKids. More than 3,000 people participated in the five-kilometre walk that promotes awareness and raises funds for research into paediatric brain tumours.
"Meagan's Walk is made possible by the thousands of people who come out every year to support us for their own special reasons," said Denise Bebenek, founder of Meagan's Walk and mother of Meagan Bebenek, who passed away from a cancerous brain tumour in 2001.
"Those here today include courageous young people who have survived this terrible illness, and families who have lost children and are here to draw support and lend their strength to others. I thank them, and the amazing doctors, researchers, volunteers, school groups, participants, sponsors...the list goes on and on. We are so grateful to those who come out to our Walk and Hug to share with one another the power of hope and strength of the human spirit," Mrs. Bebenek added.
This year's theme is "Why I Walk," and many participants have shared their moving and powerful stories of what participating in Meagan's Walk means to them. Two of those participants, Lisa and Jarrod Boon, lost their nine-month old daughter Suri to the side effects of treatment for a cancerous brain tumour in 2009.
"We walk each year to honour Suri and her beautiful smile and for all of the other children and families who have been through or are facing similar circumstances," said the Boons. "We hope that we will be alive one day to hear the words 'we've found a cure,' and will do whatever we can to help that day come to light."
Proceeds from Meagan's Walk activities over the past decade have supported research projects and programs at SickKids, which has the only laboratory in Canada dedicated to paediatric brain tumour research.
"On behalf of everyone at SickKids, we are deeply grateful to the Bebenek family and the thousands of Meagan's Walk participants who have achieved these significant fundraising results for paediatric brain tumour research," said Ted Garrard, President and CEO, SickKids Foundation. "We are delighted Meagan's Walk is our anchor fundraising event during our first-ever Healthy & Happy campaign in support of children's health this month."
Mothers with children currently at SickKids were honoured at the event and received a special gift from Swarovski.
"We are very proud to be part of the Circle of Hope and provide our support to Meagan's Walk and The Hospital for Sick Children" said Susan Wolfe, vice president of Swarovski Canada.
About Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope
Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope was founded by Denise Bebenek in 2001, the year she lost her cherished five-year-old daughter Meagan to a cancerous brain tumour. With the support of volunteers, school groups, sponsors and other supporters, Meagan's Walk raises funds for and awareness about paediatric brain tumours - the leading cause of cancer-related death in children and young adults under 20.
Our largest event is our annual Meagan's Walk. Each year thousands of participants gather on Mother's Day weekend for a 5-kilometre walk, culminating in a human hug around SickKids to send strength and love to those within. Our other events include an annual Gala and Crane Ceremony, and numerous school and community events throughout the year.
For more information about Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope, call 416-239-7843 or visit www.meaganswalk.com.
416-813-8292 or 416-553-4198