The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer has a real winner on its hands, thanks to the foundation’s latest automotive build project.
A high-performance 2018 Ford Explorer Sport, awarded to the foundation by Ford Motor Company based on the vehicle’s innovative healthy lifestyle design concept, received Ford’s Outstanding Achievement in Design award at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.
The competition was tough, with competitors – such as the foundation – submitting build concepts to Ford for consideration. A total of 21 designs were chosen. The Explorer was then “sold” by Ford to the foundation for $1 so it could be modified by young cancer patients and their family members.
The modification was part of a much larger overall effort, as one of the industrial arts therapy projects being developed this year at the foundation’s year-old, state-of-the-art Education Advancement Center, with the goal of enhancing therapeutic services with fun and exciting real-world activities. This allows pediatric cancer patients, survivors and their families to develop functional skill sets while also fostering interest in the automotive industry.
“As kids undergo chemo or radiation therapy, they can lose dexterity,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation Chairman Jim Osborn. “They’re often removed from their school and social environment more frequently. Diversionary therapy projects like this build with Ford provide an opportunity to have fun with family and friends, while also improving deficits that are a side effect of cancer treatment.”
Truck ‘N Trailers USA of Chattanooga hosted the build sessions, with additional contributions from BFGoodrich®, Borla® Exhaust, Fully Loaded Interiors, Havis, Hypertech, Paragon Luxury Wheels, RIGID® Industries, Top Notch Customs LLC, Traxda, Truck ‘N Trailers USA, Wastegate Technologies, Wizards Products, WrapArtist and Yakima.
“I have to thank Ford Motor Company for allowing us to participate in this project,” Osborn said. “It’s been awesome to see the kids working on this and to hear the excitement in their voices when they finally got to see the finished product.”
And while winning the design award was nice, the real winners are the children and family members who benefit greatly from the foundation’s providing of free services and programs.
As with other automotive builds involving the foundation, the Explorer will eventually be auctioned to raise additional funds and awareness for the foundation and its partners. In the meantime, the foundation will use the vehicle to support its innovative Healthy Lifestyles program, which uses automotive-based metaphors to educate children about key lifestyle habits that can lower the risk for certain types of cancer.
To view a special video created by Ford Motor Company featuring the Austin Hatcher Foundation patients on their “dream road trip” in the 2018 Ford Explorer Sport, click here.