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May 14, 2004 - What's big and red and rolls all over Saskatchewan?


May 14, 2004

What's big and red and rolls all over Saskatchewan?

REGINA (May 14, 2004) - Here's something you don't see everyday - picture thirty people all pedaling the same bike in your community, in support of healthy hearts and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Hard to imagine?

"A bicycle built for thirty people is a pretty amazing sight," says Noreen Johns, president of the provincial Heart and Stroke Foundation, "and we manage to turn heads everywhere we take the SaskEnergy Big Bike for Stroke. It's a sight you won't soon forget!"

A feat of mechanical engineering, the bike measures 30 feet long and eight feet wide. Built new from the ground up in 2003, the bike will criss-cross the province starting today and running right through until mid-September, stopping at towns and cities large and small. Rides can be organized just about anywhere there's a group of people willing to ride.

"We bring everything you need for a great time on the bike," says Johns. "We'll supply the bike, the driver, refreshments, souvenirs and incentive prizes. Any team signing on for a ride just needs to bring their enthusiasm and pedal power and gather pledges for their ride. It's a great chance to get out as a group and have a good time, with the additional bonus of supporting the work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation."

This year, for the thirteenth year, the Big Bike will roll all over Saskatchewan, and thanks to the tremendous support from title sponsor SaskEnergy, the event is hoping to top last year's fundraising record of $374,068.

"SaskEnergy is proud to be the title sponsor of the Big Bike campaign for the third straight year," said Leslie Gosselin, SaskEnergy Manager of Community Relations & Advertising. "Our employees across the province are looking forward to the team work involved in both riding the bike and raising funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. SaskEnergy's commitment to volunteerism and to making our province better and stronger continues to grow each year, thanks to the extraordinary enthusiasm of our employees. The Big Bike for Stroke project is a perfect opportunity for our staff to show how they make a difference for Saskatchewan people."

Any group (for example, employees, families, clubs and neighbors) can reserve a ride on the Big Bike. The Foundation's experienced driver takes the wheel and keeps the group entertained. Riders recruit family, friends and co-workers to ride or sponsor, and riders can qualify for great prizes based on the funds they raise.

All the funds raised by the SaskEnergy HeartBeat Tour will support the Heart and Stroke Foundation, an organization leading the way towards greater understanding of the root causes of heart disease and stroke.

"Almost 40 per cent of Canadians will develop some form of heart disease or stroke over their lifetime. With our aging population it is crucial to understand the underlying causes of these diseases," says Johns. "This knowledge will allow for earlier diagnoses and better treatments, while providing Canadians with critical information on how to protect their health."

More than 4000 riders will climb aboard the big bike this summer. You can be one of them! Call the Heart and Stroke Foundation, toll-free at 1-888-HSF-INFO (1-888-473-4636) to find out how easy it is to join the fun. If you're having trouble picturing a bike built for 30, log onto www.heartandstroke.sk.ca and click on the Big Bike logo, or call us to borrow the Foundation's Big Bike video, to see first-hand from past participants how much fun a ride on the SaskEnergy Big Bike for Stroke can be!

For further information contact:

Lorie Langenfurth
Provincial HeartBeat Tour Ride Coordinator
1-888-473-4636
Bike@hsf.sk.ca

Rhae Ann Bromley
Director of Communications
(306) 693-0350
bromleyra@hsf.sk.ca

Leslie Gosselin
Manager, Advertising and Community Relations
SaskEnergy
(306) 777-9822
lgosselin@saskenergy.com