Head coach Jim Harbaugh‘s “Signing of the Stars” in Ann Arbor made history today as Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, Ric Flair, and plenty of others took the stage to welcome Michigan’s 2016 football recruiting class.
Referred to by one former player as “Harbaugh-Palooza,” the event was fun, extravagant, and — often times — unbelievable.
But it was more than that.
Asked by The Big Ten Network how he got so many stars to attend the event, Harbaugh had one word: love.
“Love for the University … but most importantly love for Chad Carr, ChadTough, his family, what Lloyd Carr has meant to this town, this state, this country,” he said. “Tammi and Jason, Chad, his brothers. We’ve all witnessed it.
“When you see love, you see love for a young five-year-old boy, when you see him love back, and everybody involved, it brings you nearer to God. I think that was the cornerstone of this event. Let that pour out and let others see it, too.”
The fundraiser has brought in more than $110,000 — a total that includes individual donations and a $50,000 match by Ira and Nicki Harris.
Harbaugh, his wife, Sarah, and Tammi Carr also took the stage during the event to talk about Chad. The crowd was moved to silence as a photo collage played in the background and Harbaugh spoke about Chad and his valiant 14-month battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG.
“Chad loved sports, he loved to dance, he loved animals – especially his dog, Tootie,” he said. “He loved pizza, he especially loved playing with his two older brothers, CJ and Tommy.”
“Chad’s loss was felt by the whole University of Michigan community,” added Sarah. “Today we stand together to help so (those) of us in this room and watching this show can hold Chad and his family close to our hearts.
“Their resilience during this horrible tragedy is truly inspirational. Through this personal loss, they have found strength to create the ChadTough Foundation so that other children and families can someday avoid the crushing, brutal pain of battling pediatric brain tumors.”
DIPG is a devastating disease that takes the lives of young children fast and furiously with no hope of survival. After decades of zero progress, research is finally providing some answers and there is hope.
“Pediatric brain tumors and especially DIPG have a very small voice in this world,” said Tammi Carr. “Today’s celebration has made that voice much louder and we want to thank Coach and Sarah and the entire Michigan family for including us and for all the support over the last year and half. We are truly grateful.”
Fundraisers like “Signing of the Stars” are huge for DIPG and pediatric brain tumors. Just 4-percent of the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute budget is delegated to all pediatric cancers, with DIPG receiving next to nothing.
Almost all of the progress made in DIPG research is because of private donations made by family foundations like ChadTough.
“Chad had an important job to do on this earth and it was to inspire people to get involved,” said Tammi. “I truly believe he accomplished more in his five years than many people do in their entire lives.
“ChadTough Foundation is his legacy, inspiration, and change, and we are truly committed to continuing his work.”
Add to the growing donation generated by this incredible event by adding “Signing of the Stars” as a note before submission.