Category: Children's Health, Health Magazine

Title:Driving research forward on rare pediatric cancers

Author: Patti North
Date Published: November 8, 2021
Georgetown alumnus and parent Kevin Reilly runs “Hands on Hope” to support Georgetown Lombardi programs.
Georgetown alumnus and parent Kevin Reilly runs “Hands on Hope” to support Georgetown Lombardi programs.

A member of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Board of Visitors, Kevin Reilly (B’91, Parent’24) is committed to increasing awareness of the lifesaving research being undertaken at Georgetown Lombardi, and raising much needed funds for pediatric cancer research.

The owner and president of Alexandria (VA) Hyundai, Reilly has long been active in Hyundai Hope On Wheels. The charity, funded by Hyundai and its dealers, has given more than $172 million to pediatric cancer research and funded more than 800 research projects.

As chair of the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association Board of Directors, owner and producer of the Washington Auto Show—the largest indoor public event in Washington, D.C.—Reilly convinced local Hyundai dealers to change up the auto show’s longstanding “Hands On” competition to feature Georgetown Lombardi and Children’s National Hospital staffers as the contestants, and make a substantial contribution to pediatric cancer research. At the conclusion of the two-day “Hands on Hope” contest, the staffers who maintain contact with the car receive keys. The lucky staffer whose key starts the car wins it. The winner’s institution gets 60 percent of a $100,000 pot to fund its research, with the runner-up getting the rest. Georgetown Lombardi has come in first for the last two years, though Reilly, while a loyal Hoya to the end, makes clear that he has no idea which key will start the car.

Reilly looks to integrate his support for Georgetown Lombardi and its work into all aspects of his professional life. As president of the Washington Area Hyundai Dealer Ad Association, he helped create a holiday program called “Stuff a Santa Fe” that provides toys to children undergoing pediatric cancer treatment at Georgetown Lombardi. In the face of COVID-19, the holiday program pivoted to a virtual format, raising $20,000 for Georgetown Lombardi to provide for the needs of children and their families during the holidays.

“My Georgetown experience was unique on many levels, and my gratitude for that experience grows with every passing year,” he says. “‘Women and men for others’ is part of our DNA fabric and we are challenged to bring cura personalis to life every day. That Jesuit philosophy just stays with you and becomes a passion.”