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Changing the future one story at a time.

Special Edition September Newsletter

It’s September – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! All of us at Hyundai Hope on Wheels fight passionately year-round to help fund lifesaving research to cure childhood cancer. Each September, we are proud to bring this issue to the forefront of national conversation, creating a platform to reinforce the importance of fighting this devastating disease.
Our launch of the Hope On Wheels 2015 nationwide grant program marks a significant milestone. Now in our 17th year of fighting childhood cancer, Hope On Wheels has awarded more than $100 million in lifetime funding. This month alone, we will be visiting 45 hospitals across the country to present Hyundai Scholar grants that will help advance research in the quest to find a cure and improve care for pediatric cancer.
I hope you know that we’re always grateful for your help. Here is how you can join the fight against childhood cancer this September:
Watch and share videos of brave child cancer patients and their families, meet Hyundai Scholars, and learn about the pediatric cancer research projects funded by Hope On Wheels.
Lend your own hand in the fight by visiting the Hope On Wheels website and click ‘Add My Handprint’ to join the fight against childhood cancer.
– GIVE –
Donate to the cause through our Hope On Wheels donation page.
Of course, it is all about the children. In this letter we invite you to explore the stories of some brave kids battling cancer along with the family members and doctors who share their fight. And we will tell you more about upcoming Hope On Wheels activities.
Please join us this month and going forward in our fight against childhood cancer. These kids are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends. These kids are the future. That’s why we fight!

Our awesome Hyundai Hope On Wheels Youth Ambassadors, Ashley, 12 years old, and Kenny, 11, are both cancer survivors. For the past two years, these courageous kids have traveled the U.S., visiting children hospitalized with cancer, sharing their own stories and raising hope for the years ahead. Now Ashley and Kenny are helping us kick off the September action by sharing their perspectives and personal experiences with cancer. Here’s what they told us in a recent Q & A session:


What does National Childhood Cancer Month mean to you?
Ashley:  This month helps us to tell everybody that there is always hope to find a cure! Whenever September comes around, so many people all across the nation try to lend a helping hand. It’s really important to create awareness about the need for more funding to find cures for childhood cancer!

Kenny:  It means a lot to me. It’s a whole month dedicated to raising funds for research and hope for ending childhood cancer. It puts a spotlight on the kids who are fighting cancer and on their families too. You know, the families really go through it with you, along with the doctors and nurses.

Why is it important for more people to know about this cause?
Ashley:  It’s especially important to me because I’ve lost way too many friends to childhood cancer over the past few years. Kids shouldn’t have to battle tough things like cancer. We kids need adults to help us create awareness so that together we can put an end to childhood cancer!

Kenny:  It’s very important. Unfortunately, you never know when cancer might strike a kid that you know. I never thought it would happen to me. In fact, I didn’t know anything about cancer, only that it was a bad disease. If more people know the facts, there will be more help for researchers to find a cure.

If you could give one piece of encouragement to children who are currently undergoing treatment, what would it be?
Ashley:  There is always hope. Never stop believing that you can make it through. Always keep a smile on your face and try to stay positive and YOU WILL get through the hard stuff!
Kenny:  I encourage kids who are having treatment to never give up the fight! I found that music helped me a lot in getting through the toughest days. I’d put on a cool song, plug in my earphones and try not to think about what was going on.
With school just about to start up again, are you excited to see your friends? What’s your favorite subject? 
Ashley:  Yes! I’m excited to be able to talk to my friends on a daily basis again. And if I had to pick a favorite subject, I would probably say social studies!

Kenny:  I’m happy to be starting middle school and sixth grade. It’ll be great to get back with my buddies I haven’t seen since fifth grade. I’m looking forward to my new classes, especially math and history. And lots of great things to choose from for lunch!

Every Handprint Tells a Story
You’ll find lots of fresh new material on our website – also on our Facebook page, plus announcements, news and visuals on Twitter and Instagram. We’re reaching out to friends everywhere to underscore the importance of childhood cancer research. We are showing the world how families are impacted by this frightening disease, and demonstrating to kids everywhere that we are with them in their battle against it. We’re fighting it together; and together we will win.
You can explore the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 2015 campaign Every Handprint Tells a Story on the refreshed web portal, And please visit the new Childhood Cancer Awareness Month microsite,
Also on our website, a new public service announcement asks that viewers join Hope On Wheels and add their handprint in the fight to#EndChildhoodCancer. Please review the announcement and share it with your friends on social media.
On both the website and social channels, you can view a series of videos profiling child cancer survivors and their families, presenting their stories of bravery and hope. The site also gives research project overviews from the 2015 Hyundai grant winners.
Join us in the fight! You can add your handprint to show support for the fight by changing your social media profile picture for the month of September. You can share a child’s story of courage and hope on social channels, and perhaps make a donation to help fund research.
Childhood cancer knows no income, community, gender or race. Help us spread the word. Join us in our fight to end this terrible disease. Add your handprint to help find a cure.
Brilliant minds confer to advance the fight against childhood cancer.
dcWe will convene in Washington, D.C., from September 16 – 18 for our Sixth Annual DC Days for Child Cancer Awareness. Each day will be filled with events to build awareness for childhood cancer. We will honor the brave children, families and medical researchers on the front lines of the battle against this brutal disease. A press conference will be held with members of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus. Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassadors Kenny Thomas and Ashley Burnette will address the audience and share their first-hand experiences. Many leading pediatric oncologists, policy makers and childhood cancer survivors will participate.
A highlight is our second annual Hope On Wheels Thought Leaders’ Summit. The summit brings together the country’s top pediatric oncologists and this year’s Scholar Grant recipients. It creates an arena to explore and discuss the progress in childhood cancer research and to exchange ideas and new thinking. Led by Dr. Leonard Sender, Executive Director at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, and Dr. Lisa Diller, Chief Medical Officer of Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, everyone at the summit shares the same goal: find a cure to end childhood cancer.
Every family member is impacted. 
Strength, unity and support are crucial…we’re all in this together.
In their videos on our website, you will meet a few of the brave kids who have battled cancer and the families who fought alongside them. You’ll find that courage, tenacity and indomitable hope have been a driving force for each of them through their grueling ordeals. Following are a few comments from some of the kids and their parents
In Silverton, Oregon, 13-year-old Aaron was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2009 and admitted to Doernbecher Children’s. Through it all, he has maintained an upbeat attitude, and tells other kids: “Don’t give up. Always fight. And just hang in there!”
From Raleigh, North Carolina, three-year-old Adyson was diagnosed at the age of two with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Looking back at her time in Duke Children’s, mom Karen observed: “We try to find the good in every step.” She is thrilled that Adyson is now “getting back into life and doing normal things again.”
Now 16, Emma was diagnosed a year ago with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and treated at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Looking back, she commented: “I went a long time without my normal life and I had to focus on getting better instead of doing what a normal teenager would do.”
Seven-year-old Eve was two when she was found to be suffering from Bilateral Wilms’ Tumor, a cancer that attacks the kidneys, and later taken to Duke Children’s in Durham, North Carolina. Eve’s mom, Christy, advises other parents to encourage a support system among friends, saying: “If people want to come in and help you, let them come.” Now anticipating a bright future for Eve, she just really wants her “to reach her potential.”
“Anything is possible,” Hanna declared with a huge smile, proud to be a survivor. This 14-year-old from Edgewood, near Seattle, Washington, was diagnosed at 13 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her mom sees a new strength in Hanna: “Even though this has been the hardest thing we’ve ever done, it has built this strength and character inside her.”
This eight-year-old from Tacoma, Washington was diagnosed at age seven with Acute Lymphoid Leukemia. His mom Gwen Lewandoski said: “You can’t protect your child all the time. You really need a support system.” And they found an awesome one at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
Now 13, Jaelyn was 12 when she was found to have Acute Lymphoid Leukemia. Her treatment was at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. “It’s something that really changes your life,” she reflected. Mom Suzanne added: “When a family member is diagnosed with cancer, everyone is diagnosed really … you learn to live it, to love your way through it.”
At 17, Lizzy is a proud survivor of stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and lives in Tampa, Florida. She was treated at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Lizzy’s advice to other teens diagnosed with cancer is this: “The news is very shocking. You have to be a fighter, a warrior. Never give up. I just knew I was going to make it. Be positive, stay strong!”
Now 12, Logan was 11 when she heard she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. From her home in Philadelphia, she commented on the fabulous attitude of hospital staff, saying: “It’s really rough sometimes. But my doctors and nurses help me get through it.”
In July 2014, at the age of 12, Melanie learned she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was whisked into Miami Children’s. Losing her hair was traumatic; getting it back again, though, was cause for major excitement. “Hair’s a lot!” she exclaimed. Mom Mayte reflected on the family’s strength through the ordeal, noting: “It’s about togetherness.”
Now five, Monty was diagnosed at just 10 months of age with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Doernbecher Children’s in Portland, Oregon, became his home for quite some time. Looking to the future, Monty’s mom Breane said: “I want him to live a long, healthy life and to conquer the world one day at a time.”
Diagnosed when only 18 months old with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Noah went to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa for treatment. His mom Theresa said the doctors and nursing staff really helped get her through a very hard struggle. “They do everything as if for their own child,” she commented. Then she added: “Cancer is the scariest word in the dictionary.”
In September, 45 hospitals will receive a combined total of $10.5 million.
Hope On Wheels is proud to announce 45 grant winners this year. Doctors at each of the winning hospitals are conducting innovative research projects in pursuit of a cure for childhood cancer. For all of us at Hope On Wheels, it is a  privilege and an honor to help fund these invaluable projects.
The Hyundai Scholar Grant is awarded in the amount of $250,000, and the Hyundai Scholar, Young Investigator Grant is for $150,000. This year, several hospitals will receive both grants for a grand total of $400,000. Presentations will be made through the month of September, each one celebrated with a Hope On Wheels handprint ceremony.

Come meet these talented doctors and explore the direction of the extraordinary work they are doing. For a brief profile of each, please click here.

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