The Chattanooga-based Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer announced plans Friday for an expansion of their renowned programs and services that will be facilitated by a new downtown headquarters.
The pioneering plans were announced in a high-energy setting: Daytona International Speedway, which will host North America’s greatest sports car event – the Rolex 24 At Daytona – on Saturday and Sunday. The Rolex 24 is the season-opening event for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship; the Austin Hatcher Foundation is an official “Proud Charity” of IMSA.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the new Austin Hatcher Foundation Cancer Care Center was held on Wednesday, January 4th. The 6,000-square-foot facility is located at 232 E. 11th St. and includes the innovative Education Advancement Center which is scheduled to open in the spring.
Attendance at the ribbon-cutting reflected community support of the foundation. Attendees included Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and his wife Nina; Claire McVay from the office of United States Senator Bob Corker; Heidi Hefferlin of Hefferlin & Kronenberg Architects; Tom Phillips of Noon Management; medical device industry veteran Rogan Fry and his wife Diane; Donna Gibson, program coordinator at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine; family nurse practitioner Ashley Guthrie; Marla Moore, marketing director of the Coker Group; Patricia Kassenbaum of Erlanger Medical Center; licensed clinical social worker Adriene Petmecky; and Foundation Board Treasurer Bob McMahan.
Throughout 2017, the Austin Hatcher Foundation is commemorating its recently-completed first decade of operation. In line with the 10-year Anniversary Celebration, the Foundation have launched a “FIVE for TEN” major gift campaign, asking donors for a “promise to give” pledge of $5,000 per year for 10 years. The campaign focuses on “Building a Foundation For The Future” which includes acquiring and furnishing of a permanent home for the Foundation, and helping to continue and expand programs to benefit those dealing with pediatric cancer and the effects it leaves behind. . Thanks to an outpouring of support in the early stages of the campaign, the new building will have space for this program expansion.
The Education Advancement Center will be automotive-themed, a nod to the foundation’s longstanding relationships with the motorsports and automotive industries. The focus will be 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.
“Having the new center be automotive-themed is a perfect fit for our organization,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn. “In addition to our relationships in sports car racing, we now are part of the prestigious “SEMA Cares” family of charities. Partners such as IMSA, SEMA Cares, Moduline Cabinets, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, Katech Engines, Big Ass Fans and Hefferlin & Kronenberg Architects are proving vital support to our ambitious plans for expanding services in our new facility.”
Also Friday, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver Joey Hand was presented with the Austin Hatcher Foundation Humanitarian Award for his volunteer work in 2016 that benefited young cancer patients and their families. Hand is the co-driver of the No. 66 Ford GT that will compete in the WeatherTech Championships GT Le Mans class in the Rolex 24. Friday’s presentation to Hand highlighted the strong foundation-IMSA partnership. Hand has been involved in a variety of foundation activities serving young cancer patients, both at race tracks during IMSA race weekends and during foundation visits to children’s hospitals.
“Joey’s support has been so very appreciated by everyone at the foundation,” Osborn said. “His personality and attention have given a lot of kids and their families a big boost when they’ve needed it most.”