Bouncing Back: Undaunted by Theft of Vehicles Customized by Young Cancer Patients, Austin Hatcher Fo
Foundation Rallied After Loss to Build Gladiator, With Aid From Patients’ Families, Longtime Partners
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Jan. 15, 2020) – The resiliency of the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer will be on display Saturday during the renowned Leake Auction at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona.
As part of its array of innovative fundraising initiatives, the foundation is bringing a 2020 Jeep Gladiator IASO to be auctioned. The namesake and color scheme is linked to IASO, the Greek Goddess of Remedies and Modes of Healing.
But there is more inspiration at work here. Much more.
The stunning IASO is actually a replacement, resulting from an 11th-hour project made possible by the Austin Hatcher Foundation, foundation partners, and family members of young cancer patients who benefit from the foundation’s services. Two other vehicles donated to the foundation and customized by patients – a 2018 Ford Explorer Sport and 2019 Rugged Ridge Baja – were stolen from the foundation’s Education Advancement Center and vandalized in October. Those rides, found later by police, were total losses.
The vehicles were customized as part of the Foundation’s unique STEM-based therapy programs designed to offset the negative effects of life-saving treatments on children with cancer and their families. Both vehicles had been consigned for sale with the Leake Auction, to generate funds to help provide those therapies.
Build partners include the Mauzy family, Rugged Ridge, Mtn. View Auto Group, Truck ‘N Trailers USA, Magnuson Superchargers, Hellwig Suspension Products, BF Goodrich Tires, JKS Manufacturing, IKON GPS, Hypertech, Southern Auto Body Supply, Top Notch Customs, Atlanta Custom Wraps, and Hi-Lift. Tool and service donors include Wizards Products, Anest Iwata, Milwaukee, Chicago Pneumatic, Oracle Premium Wrap Film, Fully Loaded Interiors, Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Center, and ApeWraps.
“The theft was devastating, after all the hours the kids and their families put in on the build projects,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn.
“But of course, we rallied. And we’re fortunate to receive the type of support we have come to cherish on a daily basis, to make this third build happen in time for the Leake Auction.”
The Leake Auction was established in 1964 as the first collector car auction company in the nation. In 2018 Leake was acquired by Ritchie Bros., a global asset management company with an online audience of 3.9 million registered users. That equates to one of the largest potential buyer bases in the collector car industry.
“Leake was an event we simply did not want to miss and not only because of the fundraising potential,” Osborn said. “We needed to secure and prepare another vehicle to honor our kids – the young people we serve, kids who are fighting for their lives. They have a lot of personal equity in this effort.”