Hyundai Hope on Wheels supports Tucson teen and young adult cancer patients
Just in time for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Hyundai Hope on Wheels awarded Tucson’s University of Arizona Cancer Center a $100,000 Imagine Grant. Funds will support the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program, offering age-appropriate and patient-centered recreation and wellness activities focusing on the unique needs of adolescents and young adults (ages 13 – 39) during cancer treatment.
“By way of physical activity, well-being resources and furthering staff education, we aim to minimize the negative effects cancer treatment has on these individuals and improve their quality of life throughout their treatment program,” says Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, Chief of Banner Children’s and University of Arizona’s statewide Pediatric Blood and Cancer Program.
Dr. Katsanis is internationally recognized for his research in transplant immunology as well as advocating for the renovation of existing spaces with new medical equipment and designed around the needs of children. For teens and young adults, cancer treatment can affect not only their health and well-being, but also their education, relationships, career, independence, fertility, and more.
Dr. Katsanis is internationally
recognized for his research in
transplant immunology as well
as advocating for the renovation
of existing spaces with new medical
equipment and designed around the
needs of children.
In 2022, the National Institute of Health reported that leukemia, brain tumors, and lymphoma are the most common cancers affecting children. Leukemia, a blood cancer that begins in bone marrow, is the most commonly diagnosed pediatric cancer, accounting for one out of three cancer diagnoses in children. Brain tumors account for 26% of all pediatric cancers, with most diagnoses originating during embryonic development. Lymphoma affects the immune system within the lymphatic system, making early diagnosis critical for survival. Leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid cancer and testicular cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in young adults.
Adolescent and Young Adults Recreation and Wellness Program
Studies have shown that physical activity helps to minimize the effects that anti-cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, have on an individual. Funding through the Hyundai grant will be utilized to enhance the equipment, technology and activities located on the AYA floor through:
- Stationary bikes and yoga mats
- Fostering friendly competition amongst AYA patients through a “Lap Challenge” utilizing Diamond Children’s indoor track and logging their daily laps to see who can complete the most laps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis
- Recreational games to increase movement, including a pool table, ping pong table and foosball table
Another key area in AYA treatment is wellness – specifically, mental and emotional well-being. A portion of the funds will be utilized to conduct mental health assessments and provide resources for emotional regulation and pain management.
“Throughout a patient’s cancer journey, it is so important to celebrate milestones and ensure they continue to participate in life experiences outside of the hospital,” says Dr. Katsanis. “Hyundai’s generous gift will provide for end of treatment celebrations for patients and their families and outings to places like zoos, gardens, or museums. On behalf of the many teens and young adult patients who will benefit from these offerings, we thank everyone at Hyundai.”
Since 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has worked tirelessly to support the families, researchers, doctors and children impacted by childhood cancer. To honor their 25th anniversary, Hyundai Hope On Wheels is awarding a record $25 million in 2023. Hyundai Motor America and its more than 830 dealers and customers support the cause with a donation from every new vehicle sold.