Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hyundai Provides Research Grant to Sinai Chief

Ask any parent of a child with cancer and you'll hear many of the same stories: financial difficulties, strain on the parent's marriage, trouble relating to families with healthy children, and the emotional hardship of seeing your child struggle with illness.

But the key word is 'ask.' Traditionally, research on children with cancer has focused around how the child copes with their diagnosis, not how the family is coping. Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Hyundai Foundation, pediatric oncologist Joseph Wiley, M.D., will be able to investigate the social, academic and employment impact of cancer on other members of the family.

"Families would give up everything for their children, and frequently they have to," says Dr. Wiley, the chief of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. "If we can identify these stressers, we can find ways to reduce them."

Jen Miller, the mother of 18-month-old Emma Miller, says Dr. Wiley's words touched her. Emma, pictured at right with her mother and Dr. Wiley, is at Sinai anywhere from 1 to 5 days a week as she undergoes treatment for leukemia.

"This will help other families," Jen Miller says. "It's been super hard to find someone to relate to."

Additionally, "there's a huge financial impact on families where a child has cancer," says her mother-in-law Terry Miller. Her son is currently working two jobs, as Jen had to quit teaching in order to take care of Emma.

"Everyone is trying to do whatever we can, but it's a huge strain," Terry Miller says. "I'm really happy to see that someone is looking at that aspect of the cancer diagnosis."

The research grant award to Dr. Wiley is a part of Hyundai Motor America and hundreds of U.S. dealers “Hyundai Gives Hope on Wheels” campaign. During the month of September – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – Hyundai Hope on Wheels will donate $6.8 million to fight childhood cancer. For every Hyundai sold this month, participating dealers will donate $200 to the cause.

The “Hope Grants” in the amount of $100,000 are being given to 68 hospitals and nonprofit organizations across the country involved in childhood cancer research or support programs dedicated to improving the lives of children with cancer. Since 1998, Hyundai has given approximately $23 million to children's hospitals.

To learn more about the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

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