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THE HOPE ON WHEELS STORY | WHO THEY ARE & WHAT THEY DO

In 1998, Hyundai and a group of New England-area dealers committed to the fight against pediatric cancer by launching a local initiative to support the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This activity grew to become Hope On Wheels, a program that has been transforming the lives of children across the nation. Hyundai Hope On Wheels, a national independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Hyundai Motor America and its more than 820 U.S. Hyundai dealers and customers proudly provide their support.

You may be shocked to discover that less than 4% of federal research funding for cancer is designated for pediatrics. Without necessary funding, these young patients are left without a voice. Hyundai Hope On Wheels was established to fill that void.

Every time a new Hyundai vehicle is sold in the U.S., Hyundai customers join Hyundai and its dealers in our cause. We are proud to have funded $87 million in pediatric cancer research in the United States.

The Hyundai Clinical Grant program began in 2006. Each year we visit children’s hospitals across the U.S. to donate funds and raise awareness. At every grant presentation a “Handprint Ceremony” takes place. This is the program’s signature activity, which captures each child’s handprint. These handprints are placed on Hyundai cars that travel across the country to build colorful awareness of the program.

Why handprints? Because there is nothing more personal than a handprint, each is distinctive in its own way. Whether it’s completing a round of chemo, celebrating a beautiful new head of hair or receiving a clean bill of health, one child’s milestone can be another’s symbol of hope. And these handprints serve as our symbol.

In 2010, we expanded our program in recognition of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September). We created a new grant category called the Hyundai Scholar Hope Grant, a competitively selected two-year $250,000 award. Recipients of the Hope Grant are selected from the nation’s best and brightest institutions. In just four short years, these Hope Grants have already funded incredible research projects. Many of these projects have led to the discovery of new treatments for children.

In the years to come, we will continue to award additional grant dollars and to create greater awareness for the disease. And, we invite you to join our journey and help spread the word through your direct participation, personal involvement and social media activities to further awareness.

MISSION

The mission of Hope On Wheels is to raise awareness for childhood cancer, donate life-saving research funds and celebrate the lives of children affected by this disease. The program provides grants to eligible institutions nationwide pursuing innovative pediatric cancer research. These grants are designed to develop new treatments and ultimately a cure. We are committed to providing the much-needed support in the fight against childhood cancer. Hope On Wheels’ ultimate goal is to fund the needed research that will bring about the day when no child ever has to hear the words, “You have cancer.”

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THE HOPE ON WHEELS STORY | Connecticut Children’s Celebrates $50,000 Hyundai Award

HARTFORD — Quinn Ostergren chose green for her first handprint, to match her dress. Then she switched to blue, when she snuck up behind Connecticut Children’s Medical Center oncologist Dr. Eileen Gillan and landed a bright, child-size print on the back of Gillan’s white coat.

During a signature handprint ceremony, pediatric cancer patients were allowed to paint their hands and make a handprint on a white Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, including Kiley Sullivan, 6, of West Hartford. Sullivan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in April 2014 and is in remission.  (Cloe Poisson / Hartford Courant)

Emma chose red, Brady chose blue and John chose green Tuesday at a Hyundai Hope On Wheels “handprint ceremony,” during which young cancer patients planted colorful handprints on a white Hyundai Santa Fe Sport — and occasionally on their doctor’s white lab coat. The ceremony celebrated Hyundai’s $50,000 2015 Impact Award to Connecticut Children’s, which honored Gillan this year.

Including Tuesday’s award, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has donated $650,000 to CCMC since 2006 and just over $100 million to pediatric cancer research funding since 1998.

This award, planned for infrastructure to build a comprehensive neuro-oncology program, will help the program continue to provide “state of the art treatment,” Gillan said.

“We want to treat every patient as if they were our own child,” she added.

Ostergren, now 5, has firsthand experience with this personalized treatment. She was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in August 2012, and the cancer recurred a year later. She finished 18 months of chemotherapy last fall.

“This is not a journey anyone wants to go through, but we’re so happy we could do it here,” Alyssa Ostergren, Quinn’s mother, said. “They’re not just doctors, they’re our family.”

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