- IMSA Driver Joey Hand Presented Austin Hatcher Foundation Humanitarian Award
CHATTOOGA, TENN.(Jan. 27, 2017) – With the Rolex 24 At Daytona providing the ultimate high-energy backdrop, the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, a “Proud Charity” of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), announced plans Friday for an expansion of their renowned programs and services that will be facilitated by a new, permanent headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Plans were announced at Daytona International Speedway, which will host North America’s greatest sports car event on Saturday and Sunday. The Rolex 24 is the season-opening event for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
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. He co-drove a Ganassi Prototype to the Rolex 24 championship in 2011.
Throughout 2017, the Austin Hatcher Foundation is commemorating its recently-completed first decade of operation. The foundation began in 2006 and prior to its IMSA Proud Charity status, it was the Official Charity of the American Le Mans Series. 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” mantra is all about continuing and expanding programs that benefit those dealing with pediatric cancer and its lasting effects.
The Five for Ten campaign already has facilitated the securing of a new facility in downtown Chattanooga – the Austin Hatcher Foundation Cancer Care Center. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the facility was held on Wednesday, January 4th.
The center will soon house the automotive-themed Education Advancement Center where 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, which has longstanding ties to both the motorsports and automotive industries,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn.
“In addition relationships in sports car racing, we now are part of the prestigious “SEMA Cares” family of charities. Partners such as IMSA, SEMA, Moduline, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow and Hefferlin & Kronenberg Architects are proving vital to our ambitious plans for expanding services in our new facility.”
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.”