CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Aug. 22, 2019) – The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer continues its busy “road racing summer” this week at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Virginia, site of the Michelin GT Challenge.
The event features the production-based GT cars competing in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship; IMSA is North America’s premier sports car racing sanctioning body, headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Austin Hatcher Foundation is an official IMSA “Proud Charity of IMSA.” That status enables a season-long series of high-profile opportunities to raise both funds and awareness at well-attended events held at iconic racing facilities.
Those opportunities at race tracks are typically fundraising auctions to benefit the foundation, hosted by various race teams and fan enthusiast areas. Such is the case at VIR, with auctions on Saturday at the PorschePlatz at 2 p.m. and Sunday at the BMW Corral at 1:30 p.m. – highlighted by the auctioning of “live” paintings by noted “Motionsports” artist Bill Patterson. Paintings will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the PorschePlatz and 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the BMW Corral.
“Major thanks go out to Bill Patterson for his ‘double-duty’ at VIR and his support for our cause throughout the IMSA season,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn. “The two corrals will be a great place to showcase his work.”
Corvette Racing, longtime supporters of the foundation’s mission, will also host a fan auction Sunday at their transporter after the autograph session. The live auctions will take place from 11:30 a.m. to noon. At-track auctions feature racing-themed artwork and photography, used sports car parts and other racing memorabilia up for bid.
In addition to the at-track activities, on Thursday morning, the foundation’s innovative Diversionary Therapy program came to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Foundation staff members were joined by two of IMSA’s premier drivers representing the legendary Corvette Racing organization – Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen.
Diversionary Therapy visits feature interactive, specialized activities for young patients and their family members, supplying a much-needed respite from the everyday realities of a fight against pediatric cancer. Frequently, IMSA drivers join foundation staff on these visits. One of the most popular activities is the painting and racing of Pinewood Derby cars.
“And that activity is especially popular when the kids get to race the cars they’ve prepared against actual, professional race drivers,” Osborn said. “IMSA teams being an integral part of our Diversionary Therapy efforts is so important. ‘Star power’ always gets the children’s attention and always brightens their days.”
This week’s visit is one of many the Austin Hatcher Foundation is making this year to children’s medical facilities across the country, often in markets where IMSA events are held. (Note: Diversionary Therapy visits are not open to media; media members seeking more information on the foundation’s Diversionary Therapy program should contact Lauren Kelly at 423.243.3471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)