By Jonathan Mill
After my recent visit to Austin Hatcher for the annual SEMA pinewood build, I learned so much more about what this amazing foundation does. At first glance it may seem like they are trying to cure pediatric cancer but what they actually do and in my opinion, is equally as valuable, is provide multiple programs to help the families cope and recover during and after treatments. From council for the siblings that may be getting less attention to coaching parents on disciplining their now healthy child after being cured. It is these types of things that you may not think about and insurance just doesn’t cover. Since there are over one hundred types of cancer I believe it is equally as noble and a more realistic cause.
At the location itself there were many themed rooms for the families to utilize. From the garage themed room, we were decorating the pinewoods in to the toy room filled with relaxing bean bag chairs and different kinds of toys for every age level. I particularly fancied the fact that they had two racing pod rooms that help kids bring back cognitive functions in an entertaining fashion.
The facility wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the founders, Jim and Amy Jo Osborn. They started the foundation after losing their first child to a rare form of pediatric cancer. A thought that brings me to tears as I write this. Being a new parent myself, I can’t imagine the amount of strength needed to endure this type of tragedy. After spending some quality time with Jim and Amy Jo I can confidently say they are some of the strongest and genuinely caring human beings I will ever meet. The team of volunteers they have assembled are the true all-stars that help families get through trying times when there seems no one else in the world understanding what they are going through.
Austin Hatcher Foundation has deep roots in the motorsports industry. Jim Osborn being a racer himself and countless numbers of their volunteers come from the automotive trades. In fact, I first met them through automotive friends at, you guessed it, an automotive event. It is great to see our industry rally behind such a great cause.
Events like the pinewood build help bring these families together with other families going through similar circumstances. Creating a larger support group. It also gives more opportunities to bring in volunteers who will become a voice for the foundation. Myself being one of them.