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Media Advisory/Interview and Photo Opportunities-BMO Sponsors Cycle for Sight: 140 Kilometre Ride to Support Sight Saving Research


TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 14, 2012) - More than 200 cyclists, including as many as 30 blind and partially sighted cyclists, will gather at York University on Saturday June 23, to begin a 140km bicycle trek called Cycle for Sight. The event, voted the Best Cycling Event in Eastern Canada last year by Get Out There magazine, is a one-day fundraiser supporting the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) -- Canada's leading charity funding research to end blindness.

Media are invited to attend and interview participants, who include:

  • Cyclists living with vision loss who can speak to their personal experiences, challenges and achievements.
  • Leading researchers and medical professionals who can lend insights into the progress of current research and the expectations for treatments and cures for devastating eye diseases.
  • Sponsors and agencies who can speak to the growing need and efforts to encourage public support.

World Champion Paralympic Rower Victoria Nolan, who is blind and will represent Canada at the 2012 Paralympics in London this summer, will be at the start line -- providing opening remarks to inspire cyclists along their lengthy ride.

Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, Cycle for Sight has raised over $1 million since it launched in 2009 to fund innovative eye research. FFB's mission is to find the causes, treatments, and, ultimately, cures for retinal degenerative eye diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration, which affect more than 1 million Canadians.

BMO employee Michael Ovens is a co-founder and top fund raiser for the event. "Going blind is a scary prognosis and really difficult to talk about, even with friends and family," said Michael Ovens. "Being part of this ride gives me the courage to share the daily struggles I face because of my vision loss. It's great to have my colleagues along with my friends and family supporting the cause -- either through their pledges or by riding with me on Team BMO."

BMO has been a corporate sponsor of the event since it launched in 2009. A Cycle for Sight event has also been held in Ottawa since 2010. The 2012 Ottawa fund raising ride was held on June 3 and raised $47,000, a 25 per cent increase from 2011. The Toronto ride aims to raise $300,000, a 50 per cent increase from last year.

WHAT: 2012 Cycle for Sight fundraising ride
WHO: More than 200 participants cycling 140 km from Toronto, across Ontario's beautiful country roads, to finish-line celebrations in Collingwood. For recreational riders there is an optional 70 km journey from Alliston to Collingwood.
WHEN: Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.
WHERE: Starts at York University, Toronto (Keele Campus, North Parking Lot #65 at Steeles and Founders Road)
Finishes at Pretty River Academy, 11521 Hwy 26, Collingwood
Bike assistance and refreshment stops are provided along the way by local Lions Clubs in King City, Schomberg, Alliston and Stayner

See 2011 Cycle for Sight video and map of the route to get a sense of the photo and video opportunities available at the upcoming event.

Media Contacts:
BMO Financial Group
Carol Greene, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
carol.greene@bmo.com

BMO Financial Group
Web: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

The Foundation Fighting Blindness
Karen Sung
(416) 360-4200 ext 225
ksung@ffb.ca
Web: www.ffb.ca