Hyundai Hope on Wheels and Pittsburgh-area Hyundai dealers awarded Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC with a $75,000 grant on Tuesday.
The money from the nonprofit organization will be used to help J. Anthony Graves develop novel cancer therapies for children with pediatric cancer.
“Some people don’t get a chance to do what they love. All cancer wants to do is deprive them of their hopes and dreams,” said Graves.
With the hope that their dreams will come true and that they’ll be cancer free someday, about a dozen young cancer patients participated in Tuesday’s event.
The children dipped their hands in colorful paint and placed them on a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the official vehicle of Hope on Wheels. The handprints celebrate the courageous lives of children faced with cancer.
“I liked putting my hand in the paint,” said Lillia Vehovic, 7.
Vehovic, of Erie, was diagnosed with Leukemia two years ago. She’s in remission and is expected to be OK.
“Children’s Hospital is a blessing, and I think it’s great for Hyundai to fund the research. It means a lot,” said Vehovic’s mom, Suzanne.
RJ Geary, 4, also enjoyed leaving his handprint on the SUV.
Geary, of Shaler, was diagnosed with Leukemia this week.
He was in good spirits, as he played with a Nerf blaster. Children’s Hospital gives every patient a toy.
Congressman Mike Kelly, who is a Hope on Wheels board member, was in attendance on Tuesday. He warmly chatted with the children and gave some of them hugs. Debbie Flaherty, owner of Day Automotive Group, was also there and helped the children dip their hands in the paint.
Children’s Hospital is one of 40 recipients of Hope on Wheels’ 2013 Hyundai Scholar Grant.
“We’re grateful to Hyundai for their continued support of our pediatric cancer research program and for their commitment to and generous support of our institution since 2004,” said Linda McAllister-Lucas MD, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’ Hospital. “This type of funding is vital to Dr. Graves’ research, so he can continue the fight to find better treatments for childhood cancer.”
Hope on Wheels will donate $14 million to hospitals nationwide through the program.
Celebrating its 15th year, Hope on Wheels will surpass $72 million in donations to pediatric cancer research.