In 1998, a group of Hyundai dealers in New England launched a fundraiser to support pediatric cancer. What started out as a small local campaign has evolved into the national non-profit organization “Hyundai Hope on Wheels,” which raises awareness about childhood cancers and donates funds to pediatric cancer research centers nation-wide.
Modern Family’s Nolan Gould, a celebrity “Ambassador of Hope,” along with 14-year-old cancer survivor C.J. George, spoke with Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor for FoxNews.com, about the Hope on Wheels initiative.
Nolan, 14, who plays Luke Dunphy on the hit TV show, said he got involved with the program when he was at an event for a children’s hospital in California, where he met “Hope on Wheels” representatives. They flew Gould out to New York, where he met up with C.J., who had was diagnosed at cancer at the young age of 9.
“I was diagnosed with Stage III lymphoblastic lymphoma, which is a very aggressive cancer,” C.J. told FoxNews.com, “and I went through two years of treatment. But after that, you know, there were other kids that didn’t make it. Twenty percent of people with cancer sadly don’t make it. So I wanted to turn back and still help them.”
For Nolan, the drive to help with the program was the desire to work with his peers.
“I felt like with all the different ways to give back, I felt like I wanted to do something very personal where I could work with other kids my age and be there for them and hear their stories,” Nolan told FoxNews.com.
C.J. and Nolan plan to visit different hospitals across the country, where they will meet with pediatric cancer patients. C.J. and other ambassadors will also share their experiences with cancer treatments and inspire these children to continue fighting the disease.
“I just want to give them hope and let them know that they are not alone in this flight – and that we can beat cancer,” C.J. said.
If you are looking for a way to donate to cancer research, “Hope on Wheels” raises money through the sales of cars. For every new Hyundai car sold, the local dealer donates $14 to research, which is matched by Hyundai. So ultimately, $28 is donated for every car sold.
Hyundai is also trying to start a campaign called “Give Hope a Hand,” in which people take pictures of their hands and post them online with the hashtag #givehopeahand.
“It’s just to spread hope about pediatric cancer,” C.J. said. “…The more people that know, the more awareness, the more people that donate – and the closer we are to eradicating cancer completely.”
To learn more or to donate to Hope on Wheels, visit http://www.hyundaihopeonwheels.org/.