Hyundai Hope on Wheels Awards Grant to Sylvester for Pediatric Cancer Research
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center physicians and researchers, pediatric cancer patients and South Florida Hyundai car dealers joined forces on the Miller School campus on July 13 to support cancer research. In a ceremony showcasing the colorful handprints of childhood cancer survivors, Hyundai Hope On Wheels and representatives from 10 local Hyundai dealerships awarded the Miller School of Medicine a $75,000 Hyundai Scholar Grant for Dima Hamideh, M.D., chief fellow of pediatric hematology-oncology.
Hamideh, one of 42 nationwide recipients of Hope On Wheels’ 2012 Hyundai Scholar Grants, researches early signs of heart disease in childhood cancer survivors. Cure rates for childhood cancers are now near 80 percent. After children survive cancer, Hamideh said, “we need to make their quality of life count.”
Julio Barredo, M.D., Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Director of Children’s Cancer Programs at Sylvester, welcomed the representatives from Hyundai, physicians and other Sylvester supporters. “The reason we’re here is because of our patients,” he said.
One patient, 5-year-old Kierdrah Wilson, traveled to Sylvester from the Turks and Caicos Islands after being diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at age 3. Standing on a stool to reach the microphone, Kierdrah told a hushed crowd that she was grateful for her doctor and nurses and the friends she made during her treatment. She concluded by saying, “Thank you and have a blessed day.”
Following the formal check presentation, Kierdrah and several other young cancer patients placed their handprints in colorful paint on a Hyundai Tucson, the official vehicle of the program, to commemorate their courageous battles with cancer. Since 2010, Sylvester has received $325,000 from Hope On Wheels.
Hyundai’s National Youth Ambassador, 13-year-old C.J. George, of Miami Lakes, described his doctors and nurses as “heroes” and said he hoped “programs like Hope On Wheels will help us get to a day where we won’t need grant programs for childhood cancer.”
Over the course of 2012, Hope On Wheels will donate $12 million to children’s hospitals nationwide for pediatric cancer research through its Hyundai Scholar Grant and Hyundai Hope Grant programs. By the end of the year, Hope On Wheels plans to surpass $57 million in total donations to pediatric cancer research since its 1998 inception.