By 2004, Dr. Jim Osborn and his wife Amy Jo had become involved in fundraising events to benefit the battle against pediatric cancer. At one such event in September 2006, their first-born child, Austin Hatcher Osborn, joined them for the weekend.
Within days, the infant they gleefully nicknamed Hatch became ill and was rushed to T.C.Thompson Children’s Hospital.
The Osborns received a worst-case scenario diagnosis: a rare, aggressive form of pediatric cancer threatened Hatch's young life. Eleven days later, Oct. 19, 2006, Hatch passed away at the age of nine weeks.
The Osborns' pain became the catalyst for the formation of the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer (AHFPC), with the mission clear from the outset: to erase the effects of pediatric cancer.
Ten years later, the pain remains, softened somewhat by the Osborns' steadfast commitment to their cause, a commitment strengthened by a variety of innovative, unique programs and services they provide at no cost to young cancer patients and their families. A key element in the Foundation’s approach is providing services beyond a cancer diagnosis and recovery, in the process addressing the full spectrum of life-long effects resulting from a fight against pediatric cancer. Some of the key services include: diversionary therapy, psycho-oncology and healthy lifestyle education as well as a new Educational Advancement Center. Since its establishment, the Foundation has provided programs and services to approximately 70,000 children and their family members.
During its first decade, the Austin Hatcher Foundation raised nearly $6.8 million nationwide, spending more than $4.1 million to support Chattanooga and the surrounding communities. Local fundraising contributed $1.6 million.
“It is wonderful to be able to bring this much funding into our community to serve the children and their families who are dealing with the effects of pediatric cancer, ” says President and Co-Founder of the Foundation, Amy Jo Osborn. “Chattanooga is our home, and the foundation's national headquarters. It's important to grow and expand services and programs in our community.”
To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the Foundation begins its FIVE for TEN fundraising campaign to fund a new Chattanooga facility focused on industrial arts-centric interventions to improve childhood cancer survivor outcomes through innovative programs and strategies designed to enhance education and life-management skills. This will better prepare children with cancer, their siblings and their parents to attain academic and life success.
The Foundation's national headquarters and automotive-themed Education Advancement Center are at 232 East 11th Street in Chattanooga. The Austin Hatcher Foundation has been fortunate to receive support from SEMA Cares, IMSA and other motorsport related corporations nationwide.
“We are proud of what has been accomplished in the last ten years.” says Osborn. “We look forward to expanding our services for the benefit of children and families faced with the diagnosis of pediatric cancer.”