Sato, Children Mending Hearts collaborate on "With You Japan" program

BIRMINGHAM, AL - APRIL 10: Takuma Sato of Japan driver of the #5 KV Racing Technology Lotus Dallara Honda during warm up for the IndyCar Series Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 10, 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

(Courtesy KV Racing)

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 Series driver, Takuma Sato, and the Children Mending Hearts organization are collaborating to launch an international fund-raising program entitled, "With you Japan".

The "With you Japan" program was created by Japanese IZOD IndyCar Series driver, Takuma Sato, 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 tremendous support as they try to cope with experiencing such traumatic events where they may have lost members of their family, friends, teachers and even their homes, and sometimes right before their eyes.

All proceeds raised through this program 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.

This program will engage in several fundraising events including speaking engagements, merchandise sales, celebrity collectible auctions, and 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 IZOD IndyCar Series 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 soon to the public through online auction.

"With you Japan" will also start to raise funds by selling very attractive children's and adult-size "With you Japan" t-shirts available in pink and blue for kids; and in white and black for adults.  These will be available at the Long Beach Grand Prix in California (April 15-17) and the world-famous Indy 500 race (May 29) to begin with, then also available online.

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". 

Terry Angstadt, president of INDYCAR's 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 doing anything we can to help in their time of need through Takuma and With you Japan."

Takuma Sato and Children Mending Hearts will maximize campign 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 IZOD IndyCar Series 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. Children Mending Hearts is already very involved in working with children in Haiti and the Congo and the USA. Children Mending Hearts is supported in their charitable programs by many well known Hollywood celebrities, musicians and sports stars.  Children Mending Hearts will be reaching out to their special friends for their assistance to help Japanese children as well.

"Children Mending Hearts is thrilled to be partnering with Takuma and his ‘With you Japan' project," said Lysa Heslov, Founder of Children Mending Hearts, an American non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. "We look forward to helping thousands of children again find light and hope in their lives."

For further information and how you can help, please visit, www.WithYouJapan.org

"With you Japan" Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/WithYouJapanCharity

Children Mending Hearts: www.childrenmendinghearts.org

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