McALLEN - The South Texas Hyundai Dealers have joined Hyundai Motor America in awarding the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children's Cancer and Hematology Clinic with a Hyundai Scholar Grant in the amount of $40,000.

The funds will be given to Dr. Juan Carlos Bernini, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine, for his work with the Passport for Care (PFC) program, a long-term effects clinic for survivors of pediatric cancer.

The grant was officially presented to Dr. Bernini during a Hope on Wheels Handprint Ceremony at ?the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children's Cancer and Hematology Clinic on August 24. Area children affected by cancer placed their handprints in colorful paint on a Santa Fe car - to commemorate their brave battles with cancer.

In 2011, Hope on Wheels will award research grants to 50 children's hospitals across the country. The grant recipients, known as a "Hyundai Scholar," will receive a combined total of $2.7 million from Hyundai Hope on Wheels. Each of these 50 Hyundai Scholar grants will go toward funding new pediatric cancer research projects, and will be presented during a Hope on Wheels Handprint Ceremony.

During Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Hyundai will donate additional grants in the amount of $100,000 each through a competitive September Hope Grants program. The September program allows Children's Oncology Group (COG) member institutions seeking funding in areas of childhood cancer research to apply for the grants, which are then reviewed by Hyundai's board of medical directors and awarded to hospitals around the U.S.

The 2011 program marks the 13th straight year of Hope of Wheels' mission to fight childhood cancer, and the program will donate a total of $10.2 million to children's hospitals across the nation, a 15 percent increase from last year. Along the way, Hyundai's National Youth Ambassador and pediatric cancer survivor, Brianna Commerford, 13, will join Hyundai for a second year at children's hospital Handprint Ceremonies all over the country. Brianna battled Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and is now sharing her story with children, families, medical staff and communities at Hyundai Hope on Wheels ceremonies.

"Hyundai and our dealers are committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer- a cause we have been dedicated to for the past 13 years," said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. "At Hyundai, we thrive on new thinking and new possibilities, and Hope on Wheels supports doctors and hospitals doing just that - creating new possibilities that could someday cure childhood cancer. I'm extremely proud that each year, Hyundai and its dealers have surpassed our commitment to this cause and by the end of this year, we will have donated more than $34 million to the cause. Our goal is to support the important research that will find a cure for this dreaded disease."

During Childhood Cancer Awareness month this September, Hyundai Hope on Wheels will visit 60 more hospitals in states across the country to donate $100,000 grants to hospital programs dedicated to childhood cancer research.