International Program to Help Children Affected by Tragedy in Japan
In response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, and the ongoing dreadful aftermath that continues to unfold in Japan, IZOD IndyCar driver, Takuma Sato, and Children Mending Hearts are collaborating on an international fundraising program entitled "With you Japan."
The "With you Japan" program was created by Takuma, who quickly recognized the tremendous amount of support that so many of the children in Japan will continue to need over the coming weeks, months and even years. These young, innocent survivors will need assistance as they cope with experiencing such traumatic events where they may have lost members of their family, their friends, teachers and even their homes, sometimes right before their eyes.
Takuma Sato and Children Mending Hearts will maximize campaign efforts by working closely together under a collaborative theme entitled "Hands and Hearts across the Water." The theme ties in the hands that steer the IndyCar driver's race cars at great speeds, and the heart from Children Mending Hearts, and symbolizes the united front of both parties to support children affected by the catastrophe from oceans away. Campaigns over the course of the project will include artwork, letter writing and craft items from children in the Please Mr. President workshops in America to share with their brothers and sisters in Japan; donation programs to send much needed clothing, shoes and supplies to the children in Japan, and other outreach as needs arise.
"Children Mending Hearts is thrilled to be partnering with Takuma and his 'With you Japan' project," said Lysa Heslov, Founder of Children Mending Hearts. "We look forward to helping thousands of children again find light and hope in their lives."
All proceeds raised through With you Japan will be used to help empower local child-care professionals in Japan to provide responsive and proactive care to thousands of children as they try to move forward with their lives.
With you Japan will engage in several fundraising events including speaking engagements, merchandise sales, celebrity collectible auctions, and eventually through mobile phone text donations. Takuma will also predominantly carry the "With you Japan" program message on his KV-Lotus race car and helmet.
Through the generous support of Takuma's IndyCar competitors, other renowned drivers such as Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and many others have already donated valuable autographed racing gloves to auction off to worldwide race fans. Takuma will continue to collect autographed gloves from other race drivers and athletes from other sports, throughout the year. These gloves symbolize the hands of friendship between the worldwide community and Japan. These racing gloves, along with other autographed items including helmets and race suits, will be available to the public through online auction.
Terry Angstadt, President of the INDY Race League Commercial Division said, "We are proud to support Takuma as he campaigns to assist with the recovery in his home country after this devastating disaster. With so many great partners, drivers, team members and fans from Japan, as well as our friends at Twin Ring Motegi, the country remains in the hearts of the entire INDYCAR community and we're committed to do anything we can to help in their time of need through Takuma and With you Japan."
"With you Japan" will raise funds by selling "With you Japan" t-shirts in pink and blue for kids; and in white and black for adults. These were first available at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the world-famous Indy 500 race this spring, where fans at both races were introduced to the charity and its mission. T-shirts are available online at the store on the WithyouJapan.org website. T-shirts will also be available at select IndyCar races throughout the season.
Takuma Sato commented, "It is just so devastating and heartbreaking what has happened. People in Japan are suffering so much, and the children are going through a terrifying situation. I am personally supporting a few campaigns but since I am competing in the IndyCar series, I want to do something special to support Japan from North America. This "With you Japan" campaign is going to do several projects and hopefully make a difference."