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Enroute to Hope, BC, with Mylan Relay for Hope

Mylan Relay for Hope celebrates inaugural day of cross-Canada run in fight against HIV/AIDS

Relay to benefit and raise awareness for Canadians and people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS

The Mylan Relay for Hope kicked off April 21 at City Hall in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at a launch event featuring local dignitaries and the first group of runners setting off on an estimated 8,500 km relay across Canada in support of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Organized by Mylan in partnership with the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS), the relay will raise funds for people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS and promote awareness and education about the disease among all Canadians.

The six-month cross-country campaign will raise much-needed funds for CAS, a Canadian charity, as well as for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a global charity that has partnered with Mylan on various HIV/AIDS-related initiatives around the world.

The national relay team will feature 35 runners divided into teams that will be responsible for running the distance in its province. The runners will be followed by a campaign-themed RV that will transport sections of the Canadian AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Canadian counterpart of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that originated in San Francisco in 1987. Comprising more than 80 sections, each panel memorializes a person who has succumbed to AIDS through the symbolic comfort of a quilt.

They will also travel with the Mylan Quilt of Hope, a grassroots idea developed by Mylan and a group of volunteer quilters, and will invite Canadians along the way to sign a commemorative panel that will be assembled into a larger quilt to be revealed at the conclusion of the relay.

Sir Elton John affirmed his support for the Mylan Relay for Hope, “This kind of initiative is urgently needed in many countries around the world to raise awareness about this deadly disease that has killed so many and to raise funds to help treat people living with HIV/AIDS – not just in Canada, but everywhere around the world.”

Worldwide, 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including an estimated 71,300 Canadians.

The relay is scheduled to end in Hope, British Columbia, by mid-October. The first provincial border crossing and team change is scheduled to take place on or around May 11, 2015, in North Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Canadians are encouraged to participate in the campaign by donating directly to the cause, signing up to be a fundraiser, or tracking the runners in real-time and running a distance with them. Information is available at www.relayforhope.ca or by following the campaign via Twitter @relayforhope_ca or by using the hashtag #RelayforHope.