2008 Tour Will Donate More Than $1.6 Million and Commemorate 10 Years of Hyundai Dealers Supporting the Fight Against Pediatric Cancer
Fountain Valley, Calif., 06/25/2008 The 2008 national Hyundai Hope on Wheels™ Tour launched yesterday in Los Angeles with a ceremony to honor the pediatric cancer patients at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. The Tour will visit 32 children's hospitals across the country from June through November, donating a total of $1.6 million to support the fight against pediatric cancer.
Hyundai Hope on Wheels is the united effort of nearly 800 Hyundai dealers across the U.S. to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and celebrate the lives of children battling the disease. The 2008 Hope on Wheels Tour will highlight the need to support the training and education of the next generation of doctors. Donations made this year will fund the research of one doctor at each institution, as selected by the hospital's pediatric oncology supervisors. These medical professionals, known as Hyundai Scholars, are in the third or fourth year of a qualified fellowship program in pediatric cancer research, or are in the first seven years of their medical practice specializing in pediatric oncology.
"Between 1975 and 2003, the five year survival rate of childhood cancer rose from 58 percent of patients to almost 80 percent of patients, due to major advances in treatments," said Dr. Leonard Sender, Chairman of the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Medical Advisory Board and Division Chief of Oncology at Children's Hospital Orange County. "Hyundai and its dealers have shown a strong commitment to the fight against pediatric cancer, and, as physicians, we appreciate their grasp of the need to support the medical professionals who conduct the vital research that propels us forward in the search for better treatments and ultimately a cure."
New England-area Hyundai dealers started a local initiative in 1998 to raise money for the Jimmy Fund at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Ten years later their work has grown into the Hope on Wheels national program. Since the inception of Hope on Wheels, Hyundai and its dealers have donated more than $10 million to fund pediatric cancer research.
"Hyundai and its dealers are so proud that our local, grassroots efforts have grown into a national organization that supports hospitals across the U.S.," said Oscar Leeser, President of the Hyundai National Hope on Wheels Dealer Board, and El Paso, TX Hyundai dealer. "The Hope on Wheels Tour recognizes the hospitals that are leading the fight against pediatric cancer and honors the brave children who have faced this disease, sharing their stories with other children and families across the country."
As the tour travels across the country, it will visit each hospital that has been selected to receive a donation to present a check and host a Handprint Ceremony, the cornerstone of the Hope on Wheels Tour. The Handprint Ceremony celebrates pediatric cancer patients' lives and treatment milestones by capturing their colorful handprints in ink on a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicle, sharing their hope with other children and their families across the country. Hope on Wheels has collected hundreds of handprints and will add many more this summer as the 2008 Tour crosses the country.
At the 2008 kick-off ceremony at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Hyundai representatives introduced the 2008 National Youth Ambassador for the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program, Miss Sammy Heim. Sammy, a brave ten-year-old from Yorba Linda, California, was diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor called Rhabdomyosarcoma nearly two years ago. Throughout her treatment, Sammy's strength and positive attitude never wavered, and now that she is in remission, she is dedicated to helping other children battling cancer.
"I don't want other innocent kids to have to go through what I did," Sammy said. "If we didn't help raise money for cancer research, a lot of kids would have died because they wouldn't know what it was or how to cure it." She added, "I want to help raise money for cancer research, too." The Hope on Wheels Tour has donated more than $10 million to children's hospitals nationwide and collected hundreds of handprints from children fighting pediatric cancer. The complete list of 2008 Hope on Wheels Tour stops, including benefiting hospitals, is available at www.hopeonwheels.com.
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide.
HOPE ON WHEELS
Hope on Wheels™ is the united effort of more than 780 Hyundai dealerships across the U.S. to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and celebrate the lives of children battling the disease. Hope on Wheels is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.