No one wants to hear the words, “You have cancer.” When a child gets this diagnosis, it can be especially devastating. Children must endure a series of tests, medications, surgeries, etc. without even understanding why. They may lose out on the entire concept of what it means to be a child. 36 children are diagnosed with pediatric cancer every day. 1 in 5 will not win the fight. Of those that do survive, 3 in 5 will experience lasting side effects or secondary cancer later in life. Clearly, childhood cancer is a real threat to families everywhere.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this, Hyundai Hope on Wheels will be awarding $8.5 million to institutions across the country in the form of 40 research grants. The nonprofit organization, supported by Hyundai Motor America, has funded 840 research projects with a total of $130 million since 1998.
Celebration of Life Dinner with Hyundai Hope on Wheels
On September 1st, I was able to attend a “Celebration of Life” dinner in the San Francisco Bay Area with Hyundai Hope on Wheels. There, several local grant winners (University of California San Francisco Children’s Hospital, Stanford University Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) were presented with checks for $250,000 or $150,000. We also heard from a young survivor, a panel of researchers and doctors, encouraging music from Luke Wade, and witnessed a Handprint ceremony. As icing on the cake, it was mentioned in the panel that the FDA approved a new leukemia treatment utilizing gene therapy earlier that day.
It just so happened that I sat at the same table as the young man speaking that evening and his family. Apparently, he was diagnosed at 13 years old and, now at 16, only recently finished his treatments. As an older childhood cancer patient, he was better able to share his first-hand experience. Also, his mom told us that everyone in the family was only allowed 20 minutes at a time to feel down about the situation. Then, they had to take a deep breath and get on with their lives. Thanks to this mindset, they stayed positive throughout the ordeal.
To get a better idea of what happened at the dinner, here are a few official event photos and video:
Hyundai Hope on Wheels & National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
This was only one of the daily events where grants will be presented along with a Handprint Ceremony. These events will raise awareness during September and recognize all those in the fight against childhood cancer. This includes the children, their parents, family members, doctors, and more. You can give your support by visiting HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org/September. On that site, you can view and share stories, see grant winners, read about current research, and add a virtual handprint. For every digital handprint added between September 1, 2017 and October 1, 2017, Hyundai Hope on Wheels will donate $1 to one of the grant winning hospitals.
We’re only a week into September so there’s plenty of time to support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. With pediatric cancer being the leading disease-related cause of death of kids in the United States, greater awareness and more research are desperately needed. That’s why it’s so nice to hear that a major company like Hyundai is supporting the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program. Don’t forget to “give a hand” by adding your digital handprint so another $1 can be donated to fund research. Every bit helps in supporting these pint-sized patients and finding a cure to this disease!
I was compensated to attend this event and share my experience but I truly believe it was a for a good cause. All opinions are my own.