Columbus Hyundai Dealers Join Hyundai Motor America to Support Childhood Cancer Research Through 2011 Hope on Wheels Program

July 27, 2011

The Columbus Hyundai Dealers joined Hyundai Motor America today in awarding Nationwide Children’s Hospital with a Hyundai Scholar Grant in the amount of $50,000.  The funds will be given to Dr. Natasha Pillay-Smiley, a fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, for her research that will be focused on looking at the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family of proteins, which is known to play a role in osteosarcoma. Her research will look for inhibitors of these proteins, which could become new chemotherapeutic agents in the future.

The grant will be officially presented to Pillay-Smiley during a Hope on Wheels Handprint Ceremony at Nationwide Children’s Hospital on July 27th at 10am, where area children affected by cancer will place their handprints in colorful paint on a Santa Fe car – to commemorate their brave battles with cancer.  

In 2011, Hope on Wheels will award research grants to 50 children’s hospitals across the country.  The grant recipients, known as a “Hyundai Scholar,” will receive a combined total of $2.7 million from Hyundai Hope on Wheels.  Each of these 50 Hyundai Scholar grants will go toward funding new pediatric cancer research projects, and will be presented during a Hope on Wheels Handprint Ceremony.

During Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Hyundai will donate additional grants in the amount of $100,000 each through a competitive September Hope Grants program. The September program allows Children’s Oncology Group (COG) member institutions seeking funding in areas of childhood cancer research to apply for the grants, which are then reviewed by Hyundai’s board of medical directors and awarded to hospitals around the U.S.

The 2011 program marks the 13th straight year of Hope of Wheels’ mission to fight childhood cancer, and the program will donate a total of $10.2 million to children’s hospitals across the nation, a 15 percent increase from last year. Along the way, Hyundai’s National Youth Ambassador and pediatric cancer survivor, Brianna Commerford, 13, will join Hyundai for a second year at children’s hospital Handprint Ceremonies all over the country. Brianna battled Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and is now sharing her story with children, families, medical staff and communities at Hyundai Hope on Wheels ceremonies.

“Hyundai and our dealers are committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer– a cause we have been dedicated to for the past 13 years,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.  “At Hyundai, we thrive on new thinking and new possibilities, and Hope on Wheels supports doctors and hospitals doing just that – creating new possibilities that could someday cure childhood cancer.  I’m extremely proud that each year, Hyundai and its dealers have surpassed our commitment to this cause and by the end of this year, we will have donated more than $34 million to the cause. Our goal is to support the important research that will find a cure for this dreaded disease.” 

During Childhood Cancer Awareness month this September, Hyundai Hope on Wheels will visit 60 more hospitals in states across the country to donate $100,000 grants to hospital programs dedicated to childhood cancer research. Visit the in August to find out which hospital and city will be the recipient of the first donation that launches this whirlwind month.

More information and the complete list of 2011 Hyundai Hope on Wheels tour stops is available at

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Hope on Wheels® is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 Hyundai dealers across the U.S. to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to celebrate the lives of children battling the disease.  For 2011, the Hyundai Hope on Wheels goal is to surpass $34 million to childhood cancer research since the program began in 1998.  Hyundai Hope on Wheels is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at