Hyundai Hope on Wheels: Hyundai funds the fight against pediatric cancer

On Thursday morning, August 31st, I attended the funeral of a cousin who had lost her fight with cancer. She was the happiest, most generous soul I knew, and she had started chemotherapy just over six months ago. There have been so many advancements in cancer treatments that cancer no longer seems like a certain death sentence. That may be true, but the odds are 100% if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones like my cousin who can't beat it. And even though the odds of survival have improved, cancer is still a serious disease that has a lifelong impact on patients and their loved ones.

Cancer is even more devastating when it happens to a child. Children are so full of life, so full of promise and unrealized potential, that it seems particularly unfair when a child is diagnosed with cancer. The good news is that today nearly 80% of pediatric cancers can be cured. The bad news is that 20% still can't be cured -- and that the kids who are cured may have to live with side effects of their illness for a long, long time. A child is diagnosed with cancer every 36 minutes in the US, and yet less than 4% of federal research funding for cancer is designated for pediatric cancer.

Auto company Hyundai believes that young childhood cancer fighters deserve a  chance. Hyundai Hope on Wheels is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research. Since its inception in 1998, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has awarded over 840 grants totaling more than $130 million.  Funding comes from Hyundai Motor America and its more than 830 dealers.

On September 1, the the first day of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, the day after my cousin's funeral, I had the privilege of attending a Hyundai Hope on Wheels gala honoring kids who fight cancer and the doctors who help them. I got to meet Zafar Brooks, the Executive Director of Hyundai Hope on Wheels, who told me that in 2017 alone, they will be awarding over $15 million in grants. Some of those grants were awarded at the gala, to organizations such as UCSF and Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Everything about the event was moving. Child cancer survivor Nick Norcia took the stage and shared his experience of being diagnosed with leukemia at age 13. Nick is 16 now and a junior in high school, and he is doing fine. He is the same age and stage as my daughter, and the thought of what he had to go through just overwhelms me. He was full of praise and thanks for his oncologist who was one of the grant recipients that night.

Other highlights included a panel of doctors talking about the latest developments in pediatric cancer research, videos showcasing kids who have beaten cancer, and a musical performance by Luke Wade from "The Voice".

The night closed out with a medal and hand print ceremony. All the kids in the audience who had beat cancer received a medal, then the kids came together with Jennifer Freeman and Luke Wade to create a special hand print canvas commemorating the event. The Hyundai Hope on Wheels logo features three child's hand prints, symbolizing the many hands that help in the fight against pediatric cancer.

How you can help

Join the Run for Hope 5k & 10k event and Benefit Concert
Don your superhero cape and join Hyundai at the 7th Annual Superheroes Run For Hope event on September 31 and October 1 in Fountain Valley, CA. Head to for details and registration.

Buy a Hyundai car
With every purchase of a Hyundai vehicle, a donation is made to Hope on Wheels. Gala attendees were treated to a sneak peek of Hyundai Hope on Wheels' new ad, entitled, "Hope Comes Standard", which it coming out soon. I don't know if many Hyundai owners know about this, much less the general public, so I hope more people see this ad when it begins to air.

You can donate to Hyundai Hope on Wheels online. Your donation is tax-deductible, and over 90 cents out of every dollar goes directly to pediatric cancer research.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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