Handprints for healing: Children's Wisconsin patients paint Hyundai for pediatric cancer support, thanks to $100K grant
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Children battling cancer in southeast Wisconsin will now have an extra helping hand, thanks to a $100,000 grant from Hyundai.
That financial support comes from the company's Hope on Wheels program, that started in 1998 and since then, has given more than $200 million out to institutions across the country.
On Friday, local kids treated in the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Wisconsin in Wauwatosa were able to celebrate in-person.
Patients painted their hands with red, green and blue before pressing them onto a gleaming white Hyundai parked outside of the hospital's corporate center.
It meant a lot for 19-year-old Claire Topp, who was born with a chromosomal abnormality.
“The hospital behind us is my favorite place to live," Topp told CBS 58's Ellie Nakamoto-White. "I have a lot of nurses who are my favorite."
Claire's mother, Linda, added that her daughter had "open-heart surgery when she was eight weeks old."
"She has every system affected," her mother said. “She's socially gifted. People are her oxygen and when she comes to Children’s Hospital, it’s really her home away from home.”
Claire's older sister was also diagnosed with a rare T-cell lymphoma when she was a teenager.
Now, she works in a hospital in Cincinnati, empowering others with her strength and story.
"I love my sister!" Topp said. "I wish you could meet her."
After putting on several handprints around the car, Topp said she wished she "could do it again."
“It makes me happy to do this for a memory for all the kids who have cancer," Topp said.
According to officials, a child is diagnosed with cancer every 36 minutes.
The new grant will go toward the Integrative Medicine program, which uses non-drug interventions like aromatherapy and acupressure to lessen the side effects caused by cancer treatments like nausea and other pain.
“At Children’s Wisconsin we care for the whole child, so we care for their physical, social and mental health," said Christine Baranoucky, the vice president of engagement and stewardship at the Children's Wisconsin Foundation. "So, an event like this that Hyundai provides is huge because it allows them to put paint on their hands, put their painted hands on the car. There was so much joy on their faces today and it allows them to be a kid.”
Officials said they hope these healing handprints will remind the community of what these children and their families are going through every day, and of each individual's hopes, dreams and futures.