Jun 23, 2014, 2:34 PM EDT
Follow the deadly March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged his homeland of Japan, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Takuma Sato created the “With You Japan” program to assist families affected by the disasters.
Sato’s efforts to help continued this past May during the Indianapolis 500. He raced in the event with a special edition helmet that was later signed by him and team owner A.J. Foyt, and then put into an online auction to raise money for “With You Japan.”
The helmet had pulled in $15,675 when bidding ended on June 9. But today, the Foyt camp announced that the helmet had raised $31,350, as the winning bid for the helmet has also been matched by an anonymous donor.
The winner of the helmet is described in the team’s release as a “longtime supporter of Sato who lives in Japan” that, like the donor, chooses to remain anonymous.
“I am very glad that I became the successful bidder for the auction of the Indy 500 Special Helmet,” said the winner. “I appreciate this helmet is a symbol of Takuma and his team’s wishes and challenging spirit. I am proud to own this helmet and will continue to support Takuma who keeps challenging even in difficult situations.”
Sato also thanked everyone for their support of the auction.
“It is great news that this auction raised a huge amount for “With you Japan,” he said. “A big congratulations to the successful bidder, and I really appreciate all donors who put in extra contributions.
“Japan is still struggling from the effects of the tsunami so with your help, we will continue to support children in a way to have some fun activities and encourage their dreams.”