While every person and organization donates to different charities throughout the year, there is one cause that hits close to home. For Hyundai, that cause is pediatric cancer. Hyundai created its Hope On Wheels program in an effort to fill a funding void in cancer research. When representatives learned that only four percent of cancer research funds go towards pediatrics, they felt compelled to step in and turn up the volume of these patients’ voice.

From New England to Nationwide

What originally started as a local effort by New England-area dealers turned into a nationwide commitment. The dealerships were supporting the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Now, all of Hyundai’s 820+ dealerships are involved in the search for a cure. Since its creation in 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has raised more than $87 million for pediatric cancer research.

Starting in 2006, Hyundai put together a clinical grant program that donates funds directly to children’s hospitals. The Hyundai Scholar Hope Grant, a two-year $250,000 award, is a competitive honor, and the recipients are chosen by medical institutions across the country. These grants have funded projects that have led to new treatment discoveries.

A handprint is the chosen symbol of this charity effort because of its uniqueness to each individual. With each donation is a Handprint Ceremony, a chance to present the grants and collect handprints to place on vehicles that travel across the country as the organization raises awareness for the cause.

Events For The Cause

Hope On Wheels created a 5K run/walk event series to raise funds for pediatric cancer. The organization went back to Maui, Hawaii in January for the first 5K event of the new year. Runners and walkers of all ages were invited to participate, and awards were given to the top finishers. Families were able to celebrate the excitement and the cause with food, music, and activities. More than 500 people participated in the event, one of the largest crowds ever, and the money raised went to cancer programs in Hawaii.

After debuting the Santa Cruz concept truck and Sonata Plug-in Hybrids at the North American International Auto Show, Hyundai representatives celebrated a successful day with charity and barbecue. At the end of the brand’s presentation, Dave Zuchowski, President and CEO of Hyundai, invited the media to a celebration event at Slow’s Barbecue in Detroit. All of the money raised at the event went to Hope On Wheels and children’s cancer groups in the Detroit area.

Now It’s Your Turn

Hope On Wheels will host more 5K events throughout the year. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced runner or a first-time competitor, you can still sign up and make a difference. And all of the funds raised at the race you participate in go right back to your community’s pediatric cancer facilities. To find a local race to be part of, check out www.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org.

If you aren’t a runner, but still want to help, you can buy Hope On Wheels merchandise from Zazzle.com. Half of the proceeds from each purchase go to the kids. T-shirts, stickers, reusable bags, office supplies, hats, and cell phone cases are just some of the items available to purchase. You can also send donation checks to the Hope On Wheels office in Fountain Valley, California.

But the biggest way you can help the kids is by upgrading your ride. Every time a new Hyundai vehicle is purchased in the U. S., that customer is also helping to find a cure for pediatric cancer in this country. We hope that you will join the cause and visit World Car Hyundai to begin making a difference today.

What charitable organizations do you support? Tell us your story in the comments section below.

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