Hyundai Hope on Wheels grant supports the children’s hospital’s Survivor Wellness Center

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital has received a $75,000 Hyundai Scholar Grant from Hyundai Hope on Wheels and Syracuse-area Hyundai dealers. The grant is for Jody Sima, MD, to expand the Survivor Wellness Center to include patients treated in Upstate’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Center and address late effects of therapy from the time of diagnosis. The Survivor Wellness Center provides long-term, follow-up care, for cancer survivors of all ages.

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is one of 40 recipients of Hope On Wheels’ 2013 Hyundai Scholar Grant, which supports principal investigators known as Hyundai Scholars. Hyundai Scholars pursue research and implement clinical programs aimed at improving the lives of children battling cancer. Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital has received $275,000 from Hope On Wheels since 2004.

“We’re grateful to Hyundai for their continued support of our childhood cancer program, and for their commitment to saving the lives of children affected by this disease,” said Richard Sills, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. “This grant will fund an important program that would not be possible without this kind of generosity.”

Sima received her grant during a Hope On Wheels Handprint Ceremony at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital June 12. During the ceremony, children who are treated at the children’s hospital’s Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders placed their handprints dipped in colorful paint on a white 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the official vehicle of Hope On Wheels. Every Handprint Ceremony celebrates the courageous lives of the children faced with cancer and brings Hope On Wheels’ community of supporters together.

“Kids who have been treated for cancer of the brain or spinal cord often have long lasting and serious treatment complications,” said Sima, director of the Survivor Wellness Center at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Upstate Medical University.  “Identifying and managing their medical, emotional and social complications requires a tremendous amount of effort from Dr. Gloria Kennedy through our brain tumor center.  This grant will help us train additional personnel and develop resources to improve patient care.” Kennedy is director of Upstate’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Center.

“Hyundai and its dealers remain committed to helping children in the fight against pediatric cancer,” said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America. “We are dedicated to providing crucial research dollars that will lead to finding cures and better treatment protocols for these precious children impacted by cancer.  While cure rates approach 80 percent for some forms of pediatric cancer, far too many children and families are devastated by the disease.  We are proud of our 15-year milestone for Hyundai Hope On Wheels, and remain keenly aware that there is much more work to be done.”

Hope On Wheels primarily provides funds to nonprofit children’s hospitals across the United States for pediatric cancer research, and strives to build public awareness about the importance of this cause. The program is funded by Hyundai and its U.S. dealers. During this year, Hope On Wheels will donate $14 million to children’s hospitals nationwide through its Hyundai Scholar Grant and Hyundai Hope Grant programs.

Caption: Jody Sima, MD, seated, of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, is surrounded by children at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Handprint  event June 12 in front of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

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