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Hyundai Hope on Wheels keeps cancer research support rolling

Jun. 14, 2018, 8:31 AM

Briana Smith, 3, with Debra Friedman, MD, director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, prepares to put her blue handprint on a Hyundai Santa Fe as part of Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels event to support pediatric cancer research. (photo by John Russell)

Debra Friedman, MD, director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, has been awarded a $100,000 Hyundai Hope on Wheels Impact Award. The grant was celebrated in a “handprint ceremony” with Hyundai representatives on June 12.

To date, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has awarded more than $1.2 million in funding to pediatric cancer researchers at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The company and local dealerships began their partnership with Children’s Hospital in 2007.

Friedman is one of 25 recipients of this year’s Impact Grants, given to pediatric oncology departments at select children’s hospitals nationwide.

“Support from Hyundai Hope on Wheels has been essential to support pediatric oncology research in the laboratory and the clinic, allowing discovery, improved treatment and enhanced supportive care,” said Friedman, associate professor of Pediatrics and E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Pediatric Oncology. “This year, the Impact Grant will support research into the physical and psychosocial issues faced by adolescents and young adults fighting cancer, as well as their families. This research will allow us to develop appropriate services to lessen the burden of cancer in this vulnerable population.”

Representatives from the automaker and local dealerships joined Children’s Hospital leaders and some of Friedman’s patients to celebrate the grant award at a “handprint ceremony.” During the event, the children dipped their hands in paint and placed their colorful handprints on a white Hyundai Santa Fe to represent their personal stories of courage and hope.

Since 1998, Hyundai has awarded more than $145 million nationwide toward childhood cancer research in pursuit of a cure.

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