Health Professional News, Mighty Blog

Children’s Minnesota doctor awarded with $100,000 childhood cancer research grant from Hyundai Hope On Wheels

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, Hyundai Hope On Wheels® awarded Dr. Michael Richards, lead investigator for pediatric oncology at Children’s Minnesota, with a $100,000 Hyundai Impact Grant during a Handprint Ceremony at Children’s Minnesota’s Minneapolis hospital.

During the event, children battling cancer participated in Hyundai Hope On Wheels’ signature Handprint Ceremony, in which they dipped their hands in paint and placed their handprints on a white 2023 Hyundai Tucson. Their colorful handprints on the official Hope Vehicle represent their individual and collective journeys, hopes and dreams.

“Grants like this allow us to continue growing our research program and looking for new and innovative ways to improve the lives of children fighting cancer here in Minnesota and around the world,” said Dr. Richards. “There are countless challenges and unknowns that come with a cancer diagnosis which is why we are dedicated to finding answers that provide hope and healing for these families.”

Avery, leukemia patient, placing her painted handprint on vehicle with help from her mom, Allison.

The Impact Grant for Dr. Richards will support research initiatives in the Cancer Survivorship and Neuro-Oncology programs at Children’s Minnesota. The goal of the Cancer Survivorship program is to keep survivors healthy and educate them about their unique health risks as a result of their diagnosis and treatment. The grant funding will help the program to continue improving the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors through research.

Dr. Michael Richards, center, awarded $100,000 Hyundai Impact Grant.

As for the Neuro-Oncology program, The Kid Experts® on that team treat more than treats more children with brain and spinal cord tumors than any other institution in the five-state region. The program will use the grant funding to help grow its research team which, in turn, can allow it to open more clinical trials that have the potential to improve outcomes for patients.

“Every 36 minutes a child is diagnosed with pediatric cancer. It drastically changes their lives, with new things like chemo, radiation, and surgeries – during a time when they should be experiencing the simple joys of childhood,” said John Angevine, regional general manager for the Mountain States Region of Hyundai Motors America. “That is why Hyundai Hope On Wheels is so dedicated to life saving pediatric cancer research. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time that is so critical to our mission to raise awareness, drive hope and to one day end childhood cancer.”

Dr. Richards is the Primary Investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) clinical trials open at Children’s Minnesota. In addition, he cares for leukemia and lymphoma patients in our pediatric cancer and blood disorders program, which is recognized for our high levels of enrollments in clinical trials. Nearly 90% of eligible patients participate in clinical trials. The program does collaborative research to improve outcomes for cancer and blood disorders patients as well as research that can improve the daily lives of children and teens.

Nick Petersen