[WASHINGTON = WhoWired] Sept. 23, 2011 -- Hyundai Hope on Wheels®, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, alongside Hyundai company executives, dealers, congressional leaders and local children's hospitals, today held a press conference as part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The event was held in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center at 10 a.m. to underscore the achievements of the Hope on Wheels second annual September Hope Grants program, which supports medical research and programs that improve quality of life for children with cancer.
At the event, the Hope on Wheels program recognized four local hospitals that each won September Hope Grants: Georgetown University Hospital, Johns Hopkins, Inova Fairfax and Children's National Medical Center. Guests heard from Brianna Commerford, a 13-year-old cancer survivor and the national youth ambassador for Hyundai Hope on Wheels, about the impact of this disease and the importance of working towards finding a cure. Children from local hospitals also participated in the event by placing their handprints in colorful paint on a canvas to represent each child's personal triumph.
Each local hospital received its $100,000 Hope Grant at the event's conclusion. These hospitals are among the 71 grant recipients during Hyundai Hope on Wheels' month-long September initiative. A total of $7.1 million will be awarded this month, the program's largest donation period to-date.
"It's an honor to be a recipient of the Hope on Wheels programs," said Dr. Aziza Shad, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Georgetown University Hospital and a 2011 Hope Grant recipient. "The grant dollars received are imperative to our continued research on pediatric cancer. Without this kind of commitment, initiatives like our 'Cooking for Cancer' program could not have been as successful as they are today. It's remarkable that an auto company like Hyundai is committing so much to this issue."
Hyundai Hope on Wheels board chairman Oscar Leeser said, "We are proud to have supported pediatric cancer research for the past 13 years. We are committed to finding cures so that children's lives are no longer impacted by this dreaded disease." Leeser, also an El Paso Hyundai dealer concluded, "As dealers, we applaud the hard work of the winning hospitals and look forward to the day that this disease no longer takes the lives of our young children."
In addition to its passion towards pediatric cancer, Hyundai also has a deep-rooted passion in advancing renewable technologies. That is why this month Hyundai launched the Hyundai Drive 4 Hope initiative to demonstrate the environmental advantages and performance of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). As the official car of Hope on Wheels, a Hyundai Tucson FCEV has travelled 4,350 miles since its launch in San Francisco on September 1, with its final destination in New York City on September 28. Throughout its journey, the vehicle has stopped at children's hospitals, collecting colourful handprints from each child. Each handprint represents a personal story about the child's battle with this deadly disease. The Tucson FCEV demonstrated Hyundai's advancement in fuel cell technology and more importantly helps carry the story of children affected with pediatric cancer as it travels across the country, raising awareness around the issue.
"Hyundai is committed to bold and innovative change to make the world a better place," said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. "Through Hope on Wheels, we are making great strides in the fight against childhood cancer, and through our leadership in fuel cell technology, we are taking steps toward a cleaner planet."
For the second year in a row, Hyundai's competitive September program allowed institutions to apply for either research or programmatic grants. The submitted proposals were then reviewed by an independent committee of pediatric oncologists. Each of the 71 Hope Grants will help fund new pediatric cancer research projects and will be presented during a Hope Grant ceremony that will take place at the participating institution's campus.
HYUNDAI HOPE ON WHEELS
Hyundai Hope on Wheels® is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to celebrate the lives of children battling the disease. In 2011, Hope on Wheels will have committed more than $43 million in donations to pediatric cancer research since the program began in 1998. Hyundai Hope on Wheels is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
SOURCE Hyundai Hope on Wheels
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