Upstate News

November 19, 2004
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

National Hope on Wheels visits University Hospital

Syracuse, NY — University Hospital was the 15th stop on the national Hope On Wheels tour, an initiative driven by the 640 U.S. Hyundai car dealers designed to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research at The Central New York Children’s Hospital at University Hospital. Hyundai dealers and Hyundai Motor America have contributed almost $6 million for pediatric cancer research since 1998 through the company’s Helping Kids Win Against Cancer charitable program. During the Hope on Wheels visit, the Syracuse Area Hyundai Dealers presented a $50,000 donation to the CNY Children’s Hospital, designated for pediatric cancer research and treatment.

The Hope On Wheels tour features a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV covered with the handprints of children battling — and beating — cancer. Seven pediatric cancer patients from University Hospital added their handprints to the mobile icon when the Hope On Wheels SUV stopped at the hospital Nov. 16.

“We are honored Hyundai and Hope On Wheels have committed to support the important pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at University Hospital,” said Tom Welch, M.D., chair of pediatrics at University Hospital. “It is gratifying that our patients were able to participate in the Hope On Wheels “Handprint Ceremony” to provide a symbol of hope for all children battling cancer.”

The handprint ceremony was part of a press briefing held at University Hospital Nov. 16. In addition to Welch, participating in the briefing were University Hospital pediatric patients and their families; Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., president of SUNY Upstate Medical University; Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at SUNY Upstate;; and Billy Fuccillo, president of Fuccillo Automotive Group, who represented the Eastern Region Hyundai Dealers Advertising Association. The Fuccillo Automotive Group donated $50,000 to the children’s hospital last fall.

“Our dealers recognize the important work the doctors at University Hospital are doing and are proud to support the effort to find cures for childhood cancers,” said Fuccillo. “Through these children, we can also help celebrate their treatment milestones.”

James Albanese, a young adult cancer survivor, believes his care and treatment at University Hospital is why he was able to win his battle with cancer. “I am absolutely positive that I would not be here today if it were not for the unbelievable treatment facilities that the Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at University Hospital provides, as well as the programs that aid families and friends of these patients going through this difficult time in their lives,” said Albanese.

For more information on the Hope On Wheels tour, visit

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