Tammi Carr and other parents who have lost a child to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) are not shy when it comes to their fury over the lack of government funding dedicated to childhood cancer research. For a window into how they feel, imagine looking into the eyes of your child knowing politics are what is standing in the way of him or her living past elementary school.
That is why DIPG parents are devoting their lives to making the public aware that only 4-percent of taxpayer dollars are dedicated to childhood cancer research.
That fact was enough to move college basketball analyst Dick Vitale to action. The media legend met Tammi Carr at a University of Michigan men’s basketball game in January. The following day, he called Tammi personally to tell her that he wanted to honor Chad at his annual gala in May by awarding a grant to a DIPG researcher in his name.
“I was floored,” said Tammi. “Dick Vitale does so much for pediatric cancer. To have him advocate for Chad and other DIPG families like this is incredible.”
Vitale isn’t the only one who has been moved to action.
Tammi recently attended a bipartisan meeting led by Michigan representatives Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton to discuss the “21st Century Cures Act” that will provide $2 billion per year to the National Health Institutes over an eight-year span. The bill has passed the House and is now headed to the Senate.
“This bill would give a louder voice to pediatrics, something that needs to happen,” said Tammi. “More needs to be done, but it’s a good step in the right direction.”
The ChadTough Foundation is certainly a pivotal leader in this national campaign, but the foundation itself spans far beyond its primary group of volunteers.
The Carr family has been inundated with requests to hold charity events on behalf of ChadTough. Everything from Zumba classes to cheerleading competitions have brought in money, contributing to overall donations that total approximately $1 million.
“The outpouring of support has been incredible,” said Tammi. “We have had hockey games, garage sales, craft sales … you name it, our support system is doing it on behalf of ChadTough. We have raised way more than we had expected to by this point and are really excited to start strategizing and giving away grants in the spring and summer.”
And let’s not forget about the Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge, the campaign undertaken by University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein and his family to win $100,000 for DIPG and pediatric brain tumor research. Coach Beilein and The ChadTough Foundation have held first place since voting began on January 4, in the lead with 31-percent of the overall vote.
“It has been awesome to have such a commanding lead, but we know it is going to get more difficult in the final two rounds,” said Tammi. “Everyone get ready to get serious starting Monday (Feb. 15) when the third round begins!”
Supporters can vote daily for Coach Beilein and The ChadTough Foundation at espn.com/infiniti.