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USA Health System
News Release
Mobile, Ala. (August 11, 2009)
Contact: Bob Lowry, USA Children's & Women's Hospital, (251) 415-1358

"Hope on Wheels" Supports Children's Cancer Research at USA Children's & Women's Hospital

Dr. Hamayun Imran and Dr. Aarati Rao
Dr. Hamayun Imran and Dr. Aarati Rao, recipients of the Hyundai Hope on Wheels research grant, discuss long term follow-up care of pediatric cancer patients.

MOBILE – Children's cancer research at the University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital is rolling right along, thanks to support from Hyundai Motor America. USA Children's & Women's Hospital has received a $40,000 "Hope on Wheels" grant to support continuing pediatric cancer research at USA Children's & Women's Hospital. Hyundai provided a $30,000 grant last year.


"The advances in cancer treatment for children are very encouraging," Dr. Becky DeVillier, USA Children's & Women's Hospital administrator, said. "We're anxious to learn more about the long-term prospects for our young cancer patients and are grateful for Hyundai's support."


Dr. Hamayun Imran and Dr. Aarati Rao, both assistant professors in the division of pediatric hematology/oncology, department of pediatrics, USA College of Medicine, have been named 2009 Hyundai Scholars, and will use the funds to support their research into a long term follow-up program for USA's pediatric cancer patients.


"Funding support from Hyundai has enabled USA's pediatric oncology practice to develop a regular long term follow-up clinic for pediatric cancer survivors," Imran said. "Children receive multidisciplinary care including routine and specialized care for monitoring late effects of cancer therapy."


"These include echocardiograms, pulmonary function tests and neuropsychological testing," Rao said. Referrals to cardiologists, pulmonologists and endocrinologists are made when deemed necessary, and a database is being set up to collect data that will hopefully result in scientific publications in the future.


Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children in America, but five-year relative survival rates have improved greatly over the past 30 years, from less than 50 percent before the 1970s to nearly 80 percent today, due largely to new and improved treatments.

Maureen and Eli Aaron
Eli Aaron admires his painted handprint as his mother, Maureen Aaron, looks on.

In addition to a check presentation, the event included the Hope on Wheels Handprint Ceremony which celebrated USA pediatric cancer patients' lives and treatment milestones by capturing their colorful handprints on a white 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe.


"We are inspired every day by the brave children we meet at our Handprint Ceremonies," said Larry Dean, Palmers Airport Hyundai general manager. "When the kids place their handprints on the car, we are honoring their brave battles against cancer, commemorating their triumphs and sharing their hope for the future with other children and their families across the country."


USA Children's & Women's Hospital, one of less than ten freestanding children's and women's hospitals in the country, features the award-winning USS Hope cancer and sickle cell treatment center, which uses "distraction therapy" to give young patients the feeling of traveling in a submarine during their visit. It is the only facility of its kind in the region. The USS Hope features bright and cheerful colors, comfortable seating, television/computers, and exotic fish tanks to help relieve patient and family anxieties.


For more information about USA Children's & Women's Hospital, please visit

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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: August 11, 2009 3:12 PM