To support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Hyundai Hope on Wheels today announced that through Hope Grants totaling $7.1 million, it will fund a record breaking 71 pediatric cancer research projects and programs at Children’s Oncology Group (COG) institutions across the country. In addition, the organization will launch the “Hyundai Drive 4 Hope” tour to recognize pediatric cancer patients across the U.S, as well as host the first-ever Hope on Wheels 5K Run Walk. Since 1998, Hyundai Hope on Wheels and its more than 800 dealers have been committed to fighting childhood cancer, raising awareness by collecting over thousands children’s handprints and committing more than $43 million and counting.

To recognize National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the first donation, in the form of a $100,000 Hope Grant, will be received on September 1 by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. All month long, the remaining $7 million in Hope Grants will be awarded as Hyundai Hope on Wheels travels the country, conducting handprint ceremonies with 70 additional hospitals.

“Hyundai Hope on Wheels’ ongoing funding offers a beacon of hope to children and families battling cancer,” said Dr. David Poplack, Chief of Pediatric Oncology at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “Despite the lack of funding currently available for pediatric cancer research, great strides have been made in the treatment and care of kids with the disease, bringing us today to an 80 percent cure rate. While this is good news, hospitals and research facilities still need major funding to continue important research to bring us to a 100 percent cure rate.”

Earlier this year, Hyundai Hope on Wheels opened up a call for proposals for its 2011 Hope Grant program, with the goal to support the best, brightest and most promising researchers, whose work is likely to have a significant impact on understanding the biology and/or developing diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in the field of pediatric cancer. The winning 71 proposals include research projects and programs ranging from evaluating new research in genomic medicine to important survivorship and family support programs.

“Until we find a cure, Hyundai and its dealers will not rest,” said Oscar Leeser, Chairman of the Hyundai Hope on Wheels. “Since we began this program, we are proud to say we have dramatically increased donations each year. We will continue to support research projects and programs that have significant potential to improve the survivorship and care of kids battling cancer.”

In an exciting twist to this year’s program, Hope on Wheels will drive from San Francisco’s launch event to New York City in a Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) as part of an official “Tucson Drive 4 Hope” tour. The Tucson will make stops at 15 Handprint Ceremonies along the way, allowing children currently battling cancer, and those who have survived their disease, to place their colorful handprints on the vehicle each representing a personal story about their battle with this deadly disease. By the end of September, the Tucson will have traveled more than 4,500 miles across the country and collected hundreds of handprints from children.

“2011 is a record-breaking year for pediatric cancer fund-raising at Hyundai,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “From funding critical cancer research that propels us closer to a cure, to providing vehicle technology that drives our industry-leading fuel efficiency, we love to respond to important challenges at Hyundai with our own big bold solutions.”

An additional means of generating funds for this important cause includes the inaugural Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K Race Walk, which will kick off on Labor Day in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., of which all proceeds will go toward childhood cancer.

For more information on this year’s Hope Grant recipients, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, and how you can get involved, please visit:

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