Jessie Zuniga making a handprint on Dr. Kimberley Payne. Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels’ annual September campaign is entitled “Every Handprint Tells a Story.”
LOMA LINDA, CA- Kimberley Payne, M.D., associate professor of Loma Linda University School of Medicine and director of translational research at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, accepted a $250,000 pediatric cancer research grant from Hyundai Motor America’s “Hope on Wheels” on September 22.
The grant will support Dr. Payne’s work as a “Scholar of Hope,” focusing on leukemia in children. She said her work on behalf of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is not just important professionally to her, but very personally. “My brother, Jacob, died at the age of 3 of this disease,” she told a group assembled to see the check presentation. “It’s too late for Jacob, but I hope our work will find new treatments and a cure for this disease.”
Irwin Raphael, general manager of the Western Region of Hyundai Motor America, spoke of the Hope on Wheels campaign, founded by Hyundai 16 years ago. “In that time, Hyundai Motor America has donated $87 million toward pediatric cancer research, all over the nation,” he said. He added that about 15,000 children are diagnosed with pediatric cancer every year in the United States. “We will win” against this disease, he said. This year’s contributions are being given during the month of September, which is devoted to children’s cancer awareness.
Christopher Alcala, a former patient at Children’s Hospital with leukemia, spoke movingly of his diagnosis as a child, and having to tell his mother himself. He was referred to Loma Linda, and talked of how the Children’s Hospital became a second home, giving him hope and confidence in his future as he saw his way back to health. He added that he is ready to begin college, and looking forward to a full life. Another former patient, Kimmie Metcalf, said she and her family were so grateful for the good care she received at Children’s Hospital.
For more information, visit HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org/September.