Hyundai Hope on Wheels Names 2012-2013 National Youth Ambassador at the New York International Auto Show

South Florida Native C.J. George will Join Hyundai Hope On Wheels to Help Bring Awareness to Pediatric Cancer and to Give Hope to Children Battling the Disease Nationwide

Apr 05, 2012, 09:00 ET from Hyundai Hope on Wheels

NEW YORK, April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyundai Hope On Wheels®, Hyundai Motor America's nonprofit pediatric cancer organization supported by its dealers and customers nationwide, today introduced C.J. George, a 13-year-old South Florida native, as the 2012-2013 Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassador at the New York International Auto Show. As part of C.J.'s introduction, Hope On Wheels announced its commitment to reach a major milestone of $57 million in total donations by year-end 2012 to support childhood cancer research since its inception in 1998.

Hope On Wheels primarily provides funds to nonprofit children's hospitals across the U.S. for pediatric cancer research and seeks to build public awareness about the importance of this cause. The program is funded by Hyundai and its U.S. dealers. With every new vehicle sold in the U.S., Hyundai customers join Hyundai and its dealers in funding important life-saving research through the organization's signature Hyundai Scholar Grant and Hyundai Hope Grant programs. In 2012, C.J. will travel the country as part of the first year of his two-year term and Hope On Wheels' 14th year in the fight against childhood cancer, in which it will donate $12 million in research grants.

"I am honored to have been chosen as this year's Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassador and look forward to sharing my story nationwide thanks to Hyundai and all of those people who supported me in my battle with cancer," said C.J. George. "I have been committed to helping other kids like me since I first learned I had cancer. I spoke at a Hope On Wheels Handprint Ceremony a few years ago during my treatment and now here I am, celebrating my birthday cancer-free and as an ambassador for a wonderful organization."

C.J. was selected as part of a nationwide search and will join Hope On Wheels on a national grant donation tour, a nationwide 5K race series, and a partnership with the Childhood Cancer Congressional Caucus. C.J. will also be a part of Hope On Wheels' third consecutive year conducting a comprehensive campaign during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September to raise greater awareness about pediatric cancer and the need to fund critical research to find a cure.

"Hyundai and its dealers are proud to have C.J., a very accomplished and courageous youth, represent Hope On Wheels as its National Youth Ambassador," said Zafar Brooks, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Hyundai Motor America. "His hope, courage and determination mirror the organization's belief in reaching for the impossible. Together, we will work to raise awareness and provide hope."

At the age of nine, C.J. was an active boy who loved being outdoors, but not long after his birthday, he was diagnosed with Stage III Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma after persistent back pain led to the discovery of a tumor wrapped around his spine, which had spread to his kidneys and other abdominal regions. With inoperable tumors, C.J. began treatment in 2008 at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, FL and after enduring two years of chemotherapy, he is now healthy and in remission.

"C.J. met the challenge of his diagnosis with a great deal of bravery, and his positive attitude has been an inspiration to everyone that has met him along his journey," said Dr. Brian Cuff, pediatric hematologist-oncologist, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. "I am very proud of his accomplishments and I expect to see great things from C.J. as an ambassador for Hope On Wheels."

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Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Costa Mesa, 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 800 dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Hope On Wheels® is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to celebrate the lives of children battling the disease. For 2012, Hyundai Hope On Wheels plans to surpass $57 million in total donations to childhood cancer research since the program began in 1998. Hyundai Hope On Wheels is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

SOURCE Hyundai Hope on Wheels