Thank you to Hyundai Hope on Wheels® for inviting me to attend this special event and for allowing me to share their story in this sponsored post.
Better Drives Us. It’s the slogan mentioned several times at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Celebration of Life Gala in Dallas, Texas, held during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A time for the pediatric cancer community to come together, showing their support for all children and families affected by this disease.
Hyundai Hope on Wheels is one of the largest non-profit funders of pediatric cancer research in the country. In the month of September, they awarded $8.5 million to hospitals across the country towards their research initiatives including $150,000 grant to Children’s Health UT Southwestern Medical Center. That’s some amazing numbers for one month!
Since the inception of the program in 1998, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has awarded nearly $130 million to children’s oncology institutions nationwide. The program funds research grants for U.S. -based projects only. In 2017 alone, Hyundai Hope on Wheels will award more than $15 million in grants. They believe that the doctors, nurses and staff that are working to save the lives of children with pediatric children every day are Superheroes, claiming “They Don’t Wear Capes, but They Do Wear Lab Coats.”
At the peak of the night, we heard directly from the Pediatric Thought Leaders Panel, parents who had lost children to cancer and children who have experienced the outpouring of support through their journey. Listening to these stories, not only brought some of us to tears, but those in attendance were left with a sense of hope, too. Among the crowd: doctors, researchers, specialists, Hyundai dealers, families and children affected by pediatric cancer.
Grant recipients of the evening included:
Hyundai Scholar Hope Grant ($250,000)
– Dr. Christopher Porter, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
– Dr. Julie Wolfson, University of Alabama – Birmingham
Hyundai Young Investigator Grant ($150,000)
– Dr. Kathryn Dickerson, UT Southwestern Children’s Medical Center Foundation
– Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, Texas Children’s Hospital
We were reminded that cancer research is costly, but generates no revenue. From supplies to a genome project to help understand where in the genetics Pediatric Cancer takes hold, this is why foundations like Hyundai Hope on Wheels is so important in fighting this fight to help find a cure.
To help celebrate the evening, we were blessed with a special concert by The Voice’s Luke Wade, who is an ambassador for Hope on Wheels across the country. Luke Wade lit up the room by bringing children together on stage, eating his dinner right alongside the families and smiling to bring joy wherever he could.
Luke Wade also took part in the evening’s signature Handprint Ceremony, which filled the room with even more joy and hope.
“There is nothing more personal than a handprint, as each handprint’s story is distinctive in its own way.” Whether one is completing a round of chemo, celebrating a beautiful new head of hair or receiving a clean bill of health, a child’s milestone can be another’s symbol of hope …And these handprints serve as their symbol.
The Handprint Ceremony captures each child’s handprint in paint, and those handprints are placed on Hyundai cars that travel across the country to build awareness of the program.
You can find out more information about Hope on Wheels at www.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org.