The Samford University Alumni Association has selected Amy Jo Osborn, the co-founder and president of the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, as its 2017 Humanitarian of the Year.
Ms. Osborn, a 2002 Samford graduate (B.A., Broadcast Journalism), will receive the award on Friday night during Samford’s Homecoming Weekend. The Alumni Awards Program will be held in Siebert Gymnasium on the school’s Birmingham, Alabama campus. In addition to the Humanitarian of the Year award, Samford will present awards for Alumnus of the Year and Outstanding Young Alumnus.
The Humanitarian of the Year Award was established in 2016 with two inaugural recipients: long-time Civil Right activist and author Carolyn Maull McKinstry, who earned a Master of Divinity from Samford’s Beeson Divinity School in 2008; and Stephen B. Moss, a 1968 graduate of Cumberland School of Law and founder of Mission United to help military veterans obtain needed housing, legal assistance and health care.
Nominees for the Humanitarian of the Year Award are individuals of distinction, respect and leadership who have worked to better the lives of others and society at large. They also are recognized for continuing their connection to the university and the university’s mission: To nurture persons in their development of intellect, creativity, faith and personhood.
“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” Ms. Osborn said. “To have my name listed alongside Carolyn Maull McKinstry and Stephen Moss is the ultimate validation of the work the Austin Hatcher Foundation is doing in the fight against pediatric cancer. This prestigious award is going to help shine a light on our organization, which is appropriate; ultimately, this award is all about the Austin Hatcher Foundation.”
The Austin Hatcher Foundation was formed in 2006 by Ms. Osborn and her husband, foundation Chairman Dr. Jim Osborn. The foundation’s first decade of existence has included considerable involvement with Samford and the Birmingham community. Osborn has partnered the foundation with the Samford soccer program to create the popular “Kickin’ It for Kids with Cancer” fundraising events. The foundation also has supported innovative therapeutic programs at Children’s of Alabama Hospital.
Upon graduating from Samford, Ms. Osborn, a native of West Palm Beach, Fl., worked as a photo journalist for the Southern Progress Corporation and Southern Living Magazine in Birmingham. She and her husband celebrated the birth of their first child, Austin Hatcher Osborn, in the summer of 2006. Tragically, their infant son lived only nine weeks due an extremely rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer. In the wake of that tragedy, the Osborns became committed eradicating the dread disease. In the autumn of 2006, they founded the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer. (Prior to establishing the foundation, the Osborns had done extensive volunteer work for other cancer organizations.)
Under Amy Jo Osborn’s leadership, the foundation – a 501(c) (3), non-profit organization – has had a huge impact on improving the quality of life for young cancer patients and their families, via a variety of innovative programs and services provided at no cost. The foundation distinguishes itself by assisting patients and families from the onset of a cancer diagnosis, through treatment and beyond, rather than during treatment only. Since the foundation’s inception, it has assisted approximately 70,000 children and their family members in 28 states.
In addition, Ms. Osborn has led the foundation to national prominence as an official “Proud Charity” of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), North America’s premier sanctioning body, based in Daytona Beach, Florida. The foundation also is a member of the prestigious “SEMA Cares” family of charities established by the California-based Specialty Equipment Marketing Association.
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.