Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital in Park Ridge Tuesday received a $100,000 grant from Hyundai Hope on Wheels to help fund its Children's Cancer Survivorship Program and Clinic and for children's cancer research.
The survivorship program provides comprehensive evaluations and ongoing follow-up care for pediatric cancer survivors.
"Long-term treatment is a very important part of the program," said Dr. Jong-Hyo Kwon, a pediatric oncologist whose division applied for the funding. "With the grant, we can hire a designated coordinator and we can better serve our patients."
Arlington Heights Republican state Rep. David Harris spoke at Tuesday's news conference about how the survivorship program helped his son, Courtney, who was battling a rare childhood cancer.
Courtney was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia when he was 2½.
"What happened from there is quite frankly nothing more than a harrowing journey," Harris said.
Courtney was hospitalized for three months during which he underwent rigorous treatment, including numerous bone marrow draws, blood transfusions, three rounds of chemotherapy, nine surgeries and battled numerous post-treatment infections, Harris said.
Today, Courtney Harris' cancer is in remission. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the 26-year-old is currently an Army captain serving in Afghanistan.
"My son is alive today because of the care he received from Dr. Kwon and the other health care professionals here at Lutheran General," Harris said. "The support mechanism after diagnosis and after going through treatment, I think are extremely important, not just for the patient but also for the family."
Lutheran General is one of 71 pediatric cancer research projects and programs nationwide to receive $7.1 million in funding through Hyundai Hope on Wheels during September, which marks National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
The charitable movement, started on a grass-roots level by Hyundai dealers in New England, has spread into a national campaign with more than 800 dealers participating, said Paul Lamb, Hyundai's regional sales manager.
Lamb said only 3 percent of money collected nationwide for cancer research goes toward pediatric cancer research.
"It's very gratifying to be out here and to meet people who are fighting this terrifying disease on a daily basis," he said.