Hope on Wheels Rolls into Lombardi

Pediatric Survivorship Program Receives $40,000

July 19, 2009

Kevin Reilly of Alexandria Hyundai gives a survivor a high five after adding her handprint to the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Kevin Reilly of Alexandria Hyundai gives a survivor a high five after adding her handprint to the Hyundai Santa Fe.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, Hyundai presented Lombardi’s Pediatric Cancer Survivorship Program with a check for $40,000 at the annual Hyundai Hope on Wheels ceremony. Lombardi Director Louis M. Weiner, MD, and Aziza Shad, MD, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology, blood, and bone marrow transplantation, received the check from Washington area Hyundai dealers.

Hope on Wheels is the united effort of the nearly 800 Hyundai dealers across the United States to raise awareness about childhood cancer and celebrate the lives of children battling the disease. The event included a handprint ceremony, where pediatric patients dipped their hands in finger paint and applied their colorful handprints on a shiny white 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. This car, covered in children’s handprints from all over the country, is the symbol of Hyundai Hope on Wheels, and travels the country to more than 30 cancer hospitals, collecting handprints and donating more than $1.3 million for childhood cancer research.

“We are inspired every day by the brave children we meet at our Handprint Ceremonies,” says Don Reilly, co-owner of Alexandria Hyundai. “When the kids place their handprints on the car, we are honoring their brave battles against cancer, commemorating their triumphs and sharing their hope for the future with other children and their families across the country.” Since 1998, Hyundai and its dealers have donated more than $12.4 million to children’s hospitals nationwide.

Ryan Tomoff, 14, a youth ambassador for Hope on Wheels, shared his survival story. Ryan has battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Lombardi almost since he was born, and has relapsed three times. But since a bone marrow transplant in 2004, he has been cancer free for five years.

“All kids are fighters and we all fight as hard as we can to be healthy again. We need money and support to help fight this terrible disease. I am proud to be representing the spirit of Hope on Wheels,” he says.

In 2004, Hyundai helped establish Lombardi’s Pediatric Cancer Survivorship Program, to which it has since contributed $265,000. Dr. Shad, who is also the director of the pediatric survivorship program, has been named one of thirty 2009 Hyundai Scholars nationwide.

“Like their fingerprints, every child is unique. Each handprint tells a story about their battle with cancer, and their own treatment,” adds Shad. She says this money will support her research into pediatric cancer survivorship.

Author: Claire Cushman