FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. – September 2, 2014 – Hyundai Hope On Wheels®, a leader in the fight against childhood cancer, today announced the launch of a national public awareness campaign in September, and that it has selected 36 children’s hospitals from across the U.S. to receive a total of $9 million for pediatric cancer research during the month. This latest announcement is part of the organization’s annual program recognizing September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The program is supported by Hyundai Motor America and its U.S. dealers.
Hyundai Hope On Wheels public awareness campaign
The 2014 Hyundai Hope On Wheels September campaign is called “Every Handprint Tells A Story (EHTS).” It builds on the success of last year’s effort and brings awareness to the cause via social media. This year’s campaign will showcase stories of several child cancer survivors and of many doctor researchers who are working to find a cure for the disease. Each of their handprints represents a story of courage, determination and hope in the pursuit of a cure—thus “Every Handprint Tells A Story.” The public is invited to show its support for pediatric cancer by visiting an innovative web experience onwww.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org/September. On the website, visitors can view video stories of courageous child cancer survivors; learn about the work of several Hyundai Scholar researchers; post and share their own messages of hope; and join an online community of supporters via social media.
“Pediatric cancer is a disease that affects all of society without regard for economic means, geographic location or social status,” says Dr. David Poplack, director of the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. “What Hyundai Hope On Wheels is doing is transformative, not only in providing desperately needed research funding but also by creating through social media a way for the community and those affected by pediatric cancer to come together.”
This year, the campaign will kick off on September 3 with a multi-city media tour featuring executives from Hyundai Motor America, Hyundai Hope On Wheels, and child cancer survivors. During the month of September, Hope On Wheels will travel the U.S. awarding $250,000 research grants to 36 children’s hospitals. Additional activities will include a 5K race series, a 1.1 million show-of-support decal mailing to Hyundai owners, a dealership handprint fundraising effort, and events on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus. Hope On Wheels aims to attract 300,000 unique visitors to participate in the EHTS web experience during the month of September.
“There is no greater call for any society than that of protecting and nurturing its children,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America, and a board member of Hyundai Hope On Wheels. “I do many things in my business life, but none is more important than being a part of the fight against childhood cancer. Through this year’s social media campaign, we hope to inspire millions of people across the nation to think about, and to show their support for, the courageous battles and dreams of these young patients. Cancer is a very grown-up disease that no child should have to fight. At Hyundai, we have been committed since 1998 to ensuring these children have a champion in the fight. Our goal through Hope On Wheels is simple: to end childhood cancer.”
Pediatric cancer research funding is priority
This year’s federal funding for pediatric cancer research reportedly represents less than four percent of the National Institute of Health (NIH) budget for cancer research. The continued shortage of federal funding, coupled with the economic slowdown in charitable giving, has placed even greater pressure on pediatric cancer research. While progress has been shown in reducing mortality rates from the disease, one in five of these determined children will not survive, and two thirds of those diagnosed with pediatric cancer will experience long-term side effects from the treatment. Furthermore, there has been little significant advancement in the survival rates in nearly two decades.
Hyundai Hope On Wheels National Board Chairman G. Mickey Pong of Carlsbad, Calif., said, “We must find a way to create a quantum shift in the survival curve for pediatric cancer. We load up these young bodies with poisons and therapies, many of which have changed little in decades. However, we are encouraged by the advances of technology, and by the potential breakthroughs enabling research scientists to understand the disease better than ever before.” Pong concludes, “I can assure you that the Hyundai dealers in the U.S. will not stand by while children continue to suffer from this disease. We will stay in this fight until every child with cancer can be cured.”
Grant Winners for the 2014 Hyundai Young Investigator Awards and 2014 Hope Scholar Awards
For 2014, Hope On Wheels has presented 13 Hyundai Young Investigators Clinical Awards and 36 Hyundai Scholar Hope Grants. Each of the grants is being used to advance the knowledge in the field and/or to improve the standards of care for pediatric cancer. An additional research grant in the amount of $2 million was awarded in April this year to the Children’s Oncology Group to support a comprehensive study called “Project:EveryChild.” Additionally, in June, the Hyundai Cancer Institute at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County received the fourth installment on a five-year $10-million research award. Funds raised by the 5K series and other Hope On Wheels activities will be added to this year’s total research contributions. Through the combined efforts of the grant-winning institutions, Hyundai Hope On Wheels is committed to finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
To learn more about Hyundai Hope On Wheels, please visit www.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org or follow us on social media atwww.facebook.com/HyundaiHopeOnWheels, www.twitter.com/hopeonwheels, and www.youtube.com/hopeonwheels.