Hyundai Drives Up Spirits of Children Who Triumphed Over Cancer

NEW HYDE PARK, NY – Hyundai Hope on Wheels and the Long Island Area Hyundai Dealers today awarded Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) of New York a $100,000 Hope Grant to help support the hospital’s Survivors Facing Forward Program that is helping to improve the health and quality of life of childhood cancer survivors. CCMC is one of 71 recipients of Hyundai Hope on Wheels’ 2011 Hope Grant program, where $7.1 million will be awarded to support research and programs in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The month-long program marks Hyundai Hope on Wheels’ largest donation period to-date, and will bring the total amount that the nonprofit has committed to childhood cancer, since it first began in 1998, to $43 million.

“We, at Hyundai, are thrilled to honor National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month  by donating Hope Grants to institutions that are creating new possibilities to support and help cure childhood cancer,” said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai and our dealers will continue to support these doctors and institutions and bring attention to the disease that affects so many young people.”

The $100,000 Hope Grant was officially presented on Tuesday, September 27, to Jonathan Fish, MD, during a Hope Grant ceremony at CCMC, where Dr. Fish introduced three young cancer survivors: Tracey Thompson, 16, of Elmont, NY, diagnosed at age 4 with rhabdomyosarcoma; Brooke Perry, 19, of Laurelton, Queens, diagnosed at age 12 with Hodgkin’s Disease; and Molly Guartin, 10, of North Bellmore, NY, diagnosed at age 2 with leukemia. All three completed their arduous courses of treatment at CCMC and are now cancer-free.

Understanding the challenges these youngsters face on a daily basis, Dr. Fish created the Survivors Facing Forward (SURFF) Program  to provide children with coordinated access to oncology, endocrinology, pulmonology, cardiology, psychology, nutrition and other specialists. Thanks to improvements in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, there are more than 300,000 children, teens and young adults in the US who survive cancer every year. Since the creation of SURFF in 2008, the specialized clinical care has directly benefited more than 250 survivors at CCMC, while allowing for research advances that affect their future lives.

Research and program activity at CCMC is supported through The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. The Hyundai award will be used to further new research into survivorship-related questions, such as blood transfusions and iron overload. “This grant will help our physicians and researchers get closer to a cure for childhood cancer,” said Arthur Klein, MD, executive director and chief of staff at CCMC. “We are proud to be a recipient of Hyundai’s generosity.”

For the second year in a row, Hyundai’s competitive September program allowed institutions to apply for either research or programmatic grants. The submitted proposals were then reviewed by Hyundai’s elite board of medical directors. Each of the 71 Hope Grants will help fund new pediatric cancer research projects, and will be presented during a Hope Grant ceremony that will take place at the participating institution’s campus.

“We are proud to do our part locally to help fight pediatric cancer,” said Michael Brown of Advantage Hyundai in Hicksville, NY. “We’re inspired by the battle these kids with cancer put up daily and it’s an honor to be able to contribute to their fight.”

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s news conference, the three young cancer survivors placed their handprints in colorful paint on a canvas to represent their personal triumphs over the disease.

For more information on Hyundai Hope on Wheels’ September Hope Grant program and the 71 winning institutions, please visit

Media Contacts:
Michelle Pinto
Cohen Children’s Medical Center
(516) 465-2649/2600

Zafar Brooks
Hyundai Motor America
(714) 334-1766