By SEMA Editors
The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, a member of the SEMA Cares family of charities, welcomes SEMA members to support its cause by becoming involved in foundation-related activities.
Austin Hatcher Foundation activities at both International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) races and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association events this year give the foundation an increased national presence, thanks to those organizations’ respective schedules, which afford SEMA members throughout the United States the chance to choose a volunteer opportunity in their geographic region. The foundation is an official “proud charity” of Daytona Beach, Florida-based IMSA.
In addition, volunteer opportunities for SEMA members exist at the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s regular visits to children’s hospitals; often those visits take place in markets hosting IMSA races, utilizing the foundation’s diversionary therapy program, which provides young cancer patients and their family members a respite from a fight with cancer, with specialized activities involving leisure and recreation while reducing barriers to enjoyment. The aim is to promote self-esteem, personal fulfillment and psychological, social, intellectual and spiritual/cultural well-being. Diversionary therapy is also about having fun, evidenced by the foundation’s Pinewood races at each hospital visit, with children and family members painting and racing the miniature racecars.
Goodguys Rod & Custom Association will showcase the foundation at six Goodguys events this year with the “AutoCross for Kids,” which allows event attendees to ride with professional drivers on an autocross course for a suggested donation to the foundation.
For SEMA members in the vicinity of the foundation’s headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, opportunities also exist to volunteer at the foundation’s new automotive-themed Education Advancement Center (EAC), a state-of-the-art facility focusing on diagnosing and treating educational and functional deficits associated with pediatric cancer and its life-saving treatments. The center’s programs will include industrial arts and school tutorial programs, neuro-cognitive testing and remediation and other specialty programs designed to optimize recovery from cancer by both patients and their families.
One of the EAC’s new initiatives is a “hot rodders” program modeled after the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge national competition. The foundation seeks to form an exhibition team for the engine challenge’s national championship finals, where teams will disassemble and reassemble small-block V8 engines in a timed competition.
“We have many ways in many places for SEMA members to become involved with the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer,” said Foundation Chairman Dr. Jim Osborn. “We of course welcome that involvement. We are fortunate to have fantastic partners in SEMA, IMSA and Goodguys, plus the various children’s hospitals we visit throughout the country. We are out there doing good, important work. We urge SEMA members to help us as we continue the battle against this dreaded disease.”
Throughout 2017, the Austin Hatcher Foundation is commemorating its first decade of operation. As part of the commemoration, the foundation is amid its “Five for Ten” fundraising campaign that has resulted in a number of a 10-year commitments by donors. The organization’s “building a foundation for the future” platform is centered on continuing and expanding programs that benefit those dealing with pediatric cancer and its lasting effects.