Press Release | Apr 12, 2024

Pediatric Cancer & Electric Vehicle Racing: How Childhood Cancer Families Used the Chattanooga Green Prix Racing Competition as a Unique Therapy Opportunity

By Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer
By The Austin Hatcher Foundation
Pediatric Cancer & Electric Vehicle Racing: How Childhood Cancer Families Used the Chattanooga Green Prix Racing Competition as a Unique Therapy Opportunity

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 11, 2024) — Electric vehicle racing and childhood cancer? Initially, it may not seem like the two would mix, but the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer’s “E-Racing” program, powered by Hixon Motor Sports, showcases how unique therapy options and STEAM education can help support families affected by childhood cancer in a holistic way. 

The name of the "E-Racing" program holds deep significance, symbolizing not just an Electric vehicle, but also encapsulating the core of the Austin Hatcher Foundation's mission: “erasing the effects of childhood cancer.” Through their participation in this program, young cancer patients, survivors and siblings of children diagnosed with cancer are not only acquiring motorsports skills but also are actively contributing to the alleviation of the emotional and social effects of pediatric cancer.

“I have seen such tremendous growth- both socially and developmentally- from these kids throughout E-Racing,” said Mindy Brown, Recreational Therapist at the Austin Hatcher Foundation. “Pediatric cancer often affects social development so having this therapeutic outlet for kids affected by cancer to work together on a unique, competitive project has helped them all in many different ways.”

The Austin Hatcher Foundation began its unique “E-Racing” program in 2023 as part of its Industrial Arts STEAM Therapy division. Working as a team, eight children affected by childhood cancer built an electric race car from a parts kit, designed the body panels and car livery (artwork and logo), practiced, and learned about the science, technology, engineering, and math behind the project. The Foundation team then raced in two rounds of the Chattanooga Green Prix, hosted by GreenSpaces Chattanooga, first back in October 2023, and one last weekend (April 5-6, 2024).

In October, the Austin Hatcher team, who named themselves the “Thundervolts,” earned a first-place victory in their inaugural race. Last weekend, the Thundervolts secured a hard-fought second-place win. Both times, the team showcased their skills in three key categories: Presentation, Drag-Slalom races, and Circuit Races.

“It’s life-giving to watch these kids race around the track in competition, cheer, huddle up, present, and get so excited for each other, " said Daniel Fosbinder, Industrial Arts Manager at the Foundation. “These kids are learning to come together as a team and support each other loudly and proudly while working together to solve problems. From the outside, you wouldn’t be able to tell these kids are going through adversity in a family cancer journey, which is what the Austin Hatcher Foundation is all about: erasing the effects of childhood cancer.”

The program not only introduces 4th-6th grade children affected by childhood cancer to sustainable engineering and technology, but also helps improve coordination, memory, behavior, critical thinking skills, and other aspects that are often impacted by the cancer journey. 

“Yes, we see the winning signs and banners, but the impact of the E-Racing program is truly so much more,” said Brown. “I have seen these kids come out of their shells, they are being open and honest with each other and our clinical staff, improving coordination, social skills, and so much more. Diversionary therapy is powerful by itself, and with E-Racing, diversionary therapy is combined with Industrial Arts Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and STEAM Education, making this a truly incredible, unique program for families affected by cancer.”

AHF’s "E-Racing" program combines the thrill of motorsports with the power of therapy. These victories are not only a win for the young participants but also a testament to the dedication of everyone involved in providing comprehensive, coordinated care at the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s Education Advancement Center.

Bryan Hixon, Founder of Hixon Motor Sports, expressed his immense pride in AHF's accomplishment and the significance of their victory. He commented, “For a program built from scratch by the Foundation’s team of compassionate and determined people, these wins are historic days for this new cancer therapy program,” said Hixon. “Congratulations to the kids and families we supported that won this milestone race, it clearly displayed excellent teamwork and proof of everyone’s dedication and love for this new pediatric cancer therapy- that I hope becomes a long-lasting and permanent addition to AHF’s variety of multiple therapies."

The Austin Hatcher Foundation is dedicated to providing free mental and behavioral health therapy and unique solutions to families throughout their journey and recovery from childhood cancer. The Foundation’s services encompass a wide range of support, including grief counseling, occupational therapy, family counseling, sibling tutoring, trauma therapy, industrial arts therapy, and much more. With a focus on empowering families to cope in the present and thrive in the future, the Foundation provides unparalleled psychosocial support to children with cancer and their entire families.

For more information about the Austin Hatcher Foundation, visit