Press Release | Apr 03, 2024

Hope for Every Hero: The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s 2023 Impact on Pediatric Cancer Families

By The Austin Hatcher Foundation
By The Austin Hatcher Foundation
Hope for Every Hero: The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s 2023 Impact on Pediatric Cancer Families

Childhood cancer is a brutal disease that strikes far too young and affects every member of the family differently. This is where the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, a national leading nonprofit in pediatric cancer support, steps in. We stand alongside these brave childhood cancer warriors and their families, offering hope and support throughout their journey.

In 2023, the Austin Hatcher Foundation provided $4.7 million in valued childhood cancer support services — free of charge. This service lifeline ensures that costs aren’t a barrier to critical mental, behavioral, and emotional support for childhood cancer patients' families. Every family deserves the needed resources to fight the effects that pediatric cancer brings.

A Comprehensive Approach to Empowering Families

Childhood cancer doesn't just impact their physical health. It affects emotional well-being, academic success, and an overall sense of normalcy.

This is why the Austin Hatcher Foundation takes a comprehensive approach to care. We offer programs to empower families, raise childhood cancer awareness, and provide a lifeline of hope for the entire family’s entire lifetime. Our services not only help families during cancer treatment, but the support services are available to the family forever, so they don’t have to stop therapy just because they are done with chemotherapy. These programs include:

  • Mental Health Counseling: We recognize the significant emotional toll that childhood cancer takes on patients, siblings, parents, and caretakers. Our licensed therapists provide individual, group, therapeutic activities, and family counseling to help everyone cope with the anxiety, fear, and grief that can result from a cancer diagnosis.
  • Support Programs for Families of Cancer Patients: No one should feel alone in the childhood cancer fight. Our family programs, teen nights, young adult nights, and events connect families with others who understand their unique challenges. Sharing experiences, offering encouragement, and building a network of support can make a world of difference for families battling childhood cancer.

2023: A Year of Making a Difference

In 2023, we made significant strides in supporting families facing the effects of childhood cancer, including:

  • $4,757,798 Value of Clinical Services Provided at No-Cost: We've provided a wide range of clinical services at no cost to families, removing financial barriers to essential support. Since 2006, the Foundation has provided over $30 Million in valued services.

  • 1,859 Participants in Family Program Events: Our events have brought together families, creating a supportive network and a sense of belonging.

  • 661 Individuals Served: Each survivor has a story of courage and resilience, and we're honored to support them on their journey.

  • 212 Family Programs Offered: Our diverse range of programs ensures families receive the tailored support they need.

  • 127 New Referrals: Our expanding reach allows us to support more families facing the challenges of childhood cancer.

View our entire 2023 Annual Impact Report here.

Beyond Treatment: A Holistic Approach to Healing

At the Austin Hatcher Foundation, we believe in a holistic approach to healing. It's more than just one check-in, a summer camp, or a t-shirt; it's about caring for the whole person. 

Here's a glimpse into some of the programs we offer to empower children and their families:

  • Music & Art Therapy: The power of creative expression can be transformative. Music and art therapy allow children to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment. Whether strumming a guitar, painting what they’re feeling, participating in a drum therapy circle, or creating a photo collage in a grief box, these activities offer an outlet for kids of all ages to process their experiences and begin emotional healing.

  • Occupational Therapy: Cancer treatment can rob children of their independence. Occupational therapy helps them regain skills they may have lost and develop new ways to perform daily tasks. This empowers them to regain control and normalcy in their lives.

  • Neuro-Cognitive Testing and Educational Support: Cancer treatment can sometimes impact a child's cognitive function, and distract from a sibling’s learning journey. We use specialized tests to assess these changes and create personalized learning plans. This ensures that the educational support for all members of the family continues uninterrupted, minimizing potential learning disruptions.

  • Industrial Arts & Shop: Foundation patients work on hands-on, creative projects, construct amazing things, help put together entire car builds, and hone their motor abilities. It's an excellent way for them to learn new skills, feel a sense of achievement, and support their recovery journey.

  • Diversionary Therapy: Coping with a serious illness like cancer can be overwhelming. Diversionary therapy gives families some respite and joy. This can include anything from attending a sporting event to building a derby car to participating in a fun family camp. These activities offer a much-needed escape from the stress of treatment and allow families to create positive memories together.

  • Student Programs: A cancer diagnosis shouldn't derail a child's academic future. Our student programs offer vital support; including tutoring, mentorship, and college planning assistance. We ensure that children facing the effects of childhood cancer, whether it be themselves or a sibling, can stay on top of their schoolwork and achieve their educational goals.

  • S.T.E.A.M. Club: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math come together in this exciting after-school program, which sparks creativity, ignites curiosity, and keeps young minds active during treatment and throughout survivorship. Engaging in these activities can be a welcome distraction, a source of intellectual stimulation for children battling the effects of cancer, and a support group for kids who have gone through similar life experiences.

Join Us in This Crucial Mission!

Raising awareness about our mission to support families facing the effects of childhood cancer is crucial in continuing and expanding our programs. You can be a part of the solution! Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Donate: Even a small contribution can impact the lives of children and families battling cancer in big ways.

  • Volunteer: Share your talents and time volunteering at the Foundation or participating in our fundraising events.

  • Organize a Fundraising Event: Host a community event or challenge yourself in a fundraising activity to support our cause. Whether it be a bake sale, memorial/tribute page, sports game, social media campaign, event of your choosing, or whatever fundraiser your mind can dream of, we have “Do-It-Yourself” fundraising that allows you to “Fundraise Your Way.

Together, we're bridging the gap between the impossible and the achievable. Your support has opened doors and paved the way for a brighter future. At the Austin Hatcher Foundation, we help families cope in the present, and thrive in the future after a childhood cancer diagnosis.

As we look ahead, we are committed to expanding our reach and impact across the nation. We will continue to provide more access to mental health services, offer regular check-ins to parents and caregivers, and create meaningful connections within our community. Our mission is to ensure that no family faces the challenges of childhood cancer alone.