WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyundai Hope On Wheels® (HHOW), the nonprofit organization of Hyundai Motor America, held a series of events last week in Washington, DC, to honor the children, families and medical researchers on the front lines battling pediatric cancer.
The events, coined "DC Days," were held in conjunction with the 2016 Hope On Wheels National September Tour. During the month of September – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – HHOW is traveling throughout the nation to present pediatric cancer research grants to children's hospitals, as well as to celebrate brave children with cancer. In this month alone, HHOW will award an additional $7.5 million in Scholar Hope and Young Investigator Grants, surpassing $115 million in lifetime research funding to date.
DC Days featured a Thought Leaders' Summit, Celebration of Life Gala and National Press Conference, where many of the country's leading pediatric oncologists, policymakers, Hyundai Motor America executives and HHOW board members were in attendance. Pediatric cancer survivors, including Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassadors (NYA), 13-year-old Ryan Darby from Maryland and 13-year-old Hannah Adams from Florida, addressed participants and shared their moving stories about their first-hand experiences with cancer.
"We are proud to end another Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on a note of great success and forward movement. While this completes a year of giving, with over $13 million in grants awarded, our work will continue with online activities to raise awareness," said Scott Stark, Chairman, Hyundai Hope On Wheels. "We look forward to launching our 2017 grant application process by late December as part of our plan to continue funding pediatric cancer research, and ultimately donate an additional $100 million within the next seven years."
Thought Leaders' Summit
At the forefront of the fight against the disease are the doctors and researchers who work tirelessly to discover new cures and treatments for childhood cancer. The third annual Hyundai Hope On Wheels Thought Leaders' Summit was held on Thursday, September 22. This symposium provided an arena for the country's top pediatric oncologists and this year's HHOW grant recipients to explore and discuss the progress made in childhood cancer research, and exchange ideas and new thinking.
Grant Ceremony Events
Three DC-area grant ceremony events were held during DC Days at Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center (Washington, DC), Inova Fairfax Children's Hospital (Fairfax, VA) and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (Baltimore, MD). These institutions received a combined total of $350,000 to improve care and increase treatment options for kids with cancer in the DC area. This brings lifetime grant funding from HHOW to just over $4.3 million to institutions in the DC, VA, and MD area for pediatric cancer research. Participating in the grant ceremonies were National Youth Ambassador, Ryan Darby and Hyundai President and CEO, Dave Zuchowski, at Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center and Inova Fairfax Children's hospital events, and NYA Hannah Adams spoke at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center event. All of the events featured the signature HHOW Handprint Ceremony, during which the handprints of local young cancer patients were captured on a white 2016 Tucson – the Hyundai Hope On Wheels hero vehicle – to commemorate their fight against the disease.
Celebration of Life Gala
The annual DC Days Celebration of Life Gala and Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday, September 22, at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The Gala Ceremony was emceed by E! News star Ms. Zuri Hall and included keynote remarks by Hyundai Motor America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America dealers and executives, oncologists, Representative Mike Kelly (PA), and the Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassadors, as well as a video message from Senator Thom Tillis (NC).
Dr. David Poplack, Director of the Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Center, and HHOW Medical Advisory Committee founding member, was presented the first-ever and prestigious HHOW Hero of Hope Lifetime Achievement Award for Pediatric Cancer Research. Dr. Poplack has spent over 45 years in the field contributing extensively to pediatric cancer research and advancing important discoveries.
This year's 2016 Hyundai Scholar and Young Investigator grant winners representing 34 winners from across the country, were on hand to receive the first installment of their grant awards. Projects receive grant have begun research work immediately and very promising in their potential to the field. Also in attendance were brave childhood cancer survivors and families from the DC, VA, and MD communities. They were entertained by the Children's Choir of DC. The night ended with a musical performance from Canadian singer/songwriter Ruth B.
National Press Conference
Held at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Friday, September 23, the Hyundai Hope On Wheels National Press Conference brought together His Excellency Ahn Ho-young, the Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea, Representatives Mike Kelly (PA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Bobby Scott (VA), Michael McCaul (TX), Hillary Beard (from office of Representative Terri Sewell, AL), executives from Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Hope On Wheels, and the Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassadors.
At the press conference, HHOW announced the 34 winners of its annual Hyundai Scholar and Young Investigator Awards, who will receive a combined $7.5 million to continue research for pediatric cancer research. Additionally, Rep. Van Hollen, Co-Chair of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus, was honored with the Hero of Hope Award in recognition of his commitment and service to children across the nation. Closing the press conference, Dave Zuchowski, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor America, announced the company's continued commitment to funding pediatric cancer research with a goal to award an additional $100 million to pediatric cancer research over the next seven years.
Celine Kim and Hyundai Hope On Wheels
Korean-born artist Ms. Celine Kim donated two original pieces of art and a custom tee-shirt design to the Hope On Wheels Foundation. These pieces were inspired by the stories of young cancer survivors and were displayed during the "DC Days" events (they can be viewed in the background of the included photos from the Gala). Ms. Kim currently works for DreamWorks in feature animation and visual development. By donating her artwork to Hyundai Hope On Wheels, she hopes it inspires people and raises awareness about those fighting pediatric cancer and the need for pediatric cancer research.
2016 National Call to Action: Give Hope a Hand
The theme for the fourth consecutive year is "Every Handprint Tells a Story." This theme reflects that there are many hands involved in the battle against pediatric cancer – patients, researchers, doctors, parents, friends, communities – and each of these handprints tell a story. HHOW is encouraging the public to get involved with the fight in a highly personal way – by visiting our website or joining us on Facebook to share stories of hope. The new campaign, 'Give Hope a Hand', allows supporters to Learn, Share, Do, and Give, as a way to add their hands to help fight against childhood cancer with HHOW. Whether it's sharing a video of a brave child's journey with the disease, or posting a virtual handwritten letter of hope to a child battling with the disease, or donating to lifesaving research, 'Give Hope a Hand' serves as a platform to build a strong community of supporters for the cause. We are all in this together, and with many hands, we are stronger.
ABOUT HYUNDAI HOPE ON WHEELS
Hyundai Hope On Wheels® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Launched in 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels provides grants to eligible institutions nationwide that are pursuing life-saving research and innovative treatments for the disease. HHOW is one of the largest non-profit funders of pediatric cancer research in the country, and primary funding for Hyundai Hope On Wheels comes from Hyundai Motor America and its more than 830 U.S. dealers. Since its inception, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has awarded more than $115 million towards childhood cancer research in pursuit of a cure.
To learn more about Hyundai Hope On Wheels, please visit www.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org or follow us on social media at www.facebook.com/HyundaiHopeOnWheels, www.twitter.com/hopeonwheels, and www.youtube.com/hopeonwheels.
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 830 dealerships nationwide.
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SOURCE Hyundai Hope On Wheels