MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a day of fun at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital as young cancer patients painted their hands and left their lasting prints on a white Hyundai Santa Fe, a car that represents hope on wheels.
Along with the car, Hyundai dealers from across South Florida, all part of Hope on Wheels program, brought with them a very generous grant of $100,000 continuing their long standing fight against pediatric cancer.
“Children are not supposed to get sick and when they do with something like cancer it is hard on everyone and sometimes they don’t even understand what is happening. Children’s hospitals have a lot of support services like psychology, integrated therapy to make it as comfortable as possible,” said Caitlin Beck Stella, CEO Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
The institution is one of 77 recipients across the country receiving a combined $16 million in new grants this year to develop innovative approaches to finding a cure for the disease.
In South Florida, Hope on Wheels has been making donations to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for more than 10 years and this year the program has hit the million dollar mark.
The driving force behind the program in South Florida is Rita and Rick Case.
“Someday they will get this cure but they need research to do it. Here at Joe DiMaggio’s they do a phenomenal job in cancer research but they need more funds to do the best job they can do,” said Rick Case owner of Rick Case Honda.
The doctors, nurses, staff, patients and their families all grateful for the generosity that means the world to so many.
“It very important to all kids like me I am a cancer survivor myself and it was really hard going through the treatment the chemo is poison. I still suffer side effects today. Each dollar is another step to finding a cure,” said Carter Gates a pediatric cancer survivor.
Not only does the grant go towards pediatric cancer research it also goes towards other programs, like the Real Me at Joe D, a beauty salon in the hospital where children can get hats, Disney princess wigs and even get their nails done to make them feel special.