Chad Carr
Carr Family

The Carr family.

“Everything happens for a reason” is an overused phrase that is typically said with good intentions, but can leave a deep wound. So often, the goal is to explain away the unexplainable in the midst of something painful and devastating like the loss of a child, but the repercussions of those five words can be severe.

Many assume this to be a Christian principle, based on Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

But instead of saying “everything happens for a reason,” make a switch and say, “God can use any situation for His glory.” It is then that you will be talking about the Carr family.

When Chad Carr was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) on September 23, 2014, it was a devastating blow for his parents, Jason and Tammi. Tammi has spoken about falling to the floor of the hospital and not getting up for a long time.

Despite the overwhelming pain of their new reality, Jason and Tammi chose to focus on what God could do with their horrible circumstance. Tammi took to Facebook to chronicle the family’s journey with two missions in mind: help lead others to a relationship with Christ and find a cure for DIPG.

The result has been tremendous. Not only has The ChadTough Foundation raised more than a million dollars, the cause has spread nationwide and beyond. Not only are the Carrs bringing awareness to a need for DIPG research and funding, they are changing lives through their faith and perseverance.

Read a few testimonies collected from The ChadTough Champions Facebook group:

Denise
“I didn’t personally ‘know’ Chad…only through Facebook posts and mutual friends. But I can say without question that Chad changed the way I look at the day to day madness of a house full of little ones. I am very much a ‘roll with it’ kind of person and have always looked at my life and felt so much gratitude for all I have been given. But having 5 kids between the ages of 1 and 10, 4 of whom are VERY active little boys, can be crazy. And loud. Very loud. But since following Chad’s story and reading Tammi’s posts, I look at them and truly try to breath it in, live in it and enjoy it. The reality that these days with 5 healthy kids is SUCH a blessing is at the forefront of my mind from moment to moment. I try not to let a second of it slip by me. I can say without a doubt that I am a better mom because of Chad.”

Jessie
“I was a Kids Camp counselor at Camp Michigania for the past 5 years. I was one of the few lucky enough to be Chad’s camp counselor for a few of those years. It was always so exciting when the Carr family came to camp (for other obvious reasons), but it was little Chad who left the biggest impact on me and the staff as a whole. I am so grateful that I was able to see Chad this summer enjoying his time with his family, swimming at North Beach, and getting a special present from the Unicorn and Wizard.

“Since day 1 of Chad’s diagnosis, I have come to appreciate the smaller things in life. I have grown closer with my family and share such a special bond with some friends who Chad also had an impact on. I strive to live each day to its fullest potential because I think about how short and precious life is. I will be running a 10k in 2 weeks through the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and will be honoring Chad and his legacy every step of the way. It’s amazing to feel the impact that Chad has had in his short, precious time here on Earth, and I’m proud to be part of his legacy for years to come.”

Amber
“I never got to meet Chad in person I have met Tammi and have seen her and Jason interact in the community with their kids and I have been takin back by their strength and kindness they always show. Knowing their story and strength and how their love for Chad sent them on a a path to try and help others not have to suffer the way they and so many others have, has helped me put things in my life into perspective and focus on what’s important and truly matters. Chads story has changed my families every day life we try to do more together we focus on today and not things in the past we have learned to appreciate each other and the time we have together and focus on the good and not the bad in everyday. Chad story is apart of our everyday life.”

Karen
“I learned of Chads story on Foxnews. I was blessed to have met him and his family at the run last year. Chad was and is still my hero. I had never heard of his type of cancer before and while I knew it was terminal, I believed with all the miracles he had been given he would be the one to beat it.

“I suffer from RA. When debating on whether or not I could run, I would think back to the video that Tammi posted of Chad, more determined than anyone I know, climbing that sand hill all on his own. Even with his limited abilities he did it! That will forever be etched in my mind. So, with that in mind, I trained, trained, and trained some more and ran/walked the 5k. My motto…IF CHAD CAN DO IT, I CAN DO IT TOO! He is my inspiration on a daily basis! I struggle but dig deep!

“I am also determined to be a part of his legacy. He deserved so much more!”

Cindi
“Like many in this group, I do not personally know the Carr Family. I followed Chad’s story from the beginning. What has touched me the most is how Chad’s story has and continues to touch people and help them unite together to fight this DIPG monster. Tammi Curtis Carr you are simply amazing and I continue to be amazed by your strength. You have taught me to enjoy the little things in life and to appreciate my family every day no matter how crazy life gets. Not only am I proud to be a member of this great group, I also continue to remain dedicated to helping you defeat this terrible DIPG monster. #ChadTough”

Monica
“Although I never had the fortune of meeting Chad in person, I knew Tammi from previously, before she had Chad. I followed the story after he got diagnosed and I prayed with all I could for a miracle to happen everyday. Whenever Tammi would share the journey they were on and about to face, I thought of my children and my heart would hurt for the Carr family even more. I reached out to all I knew to help with the fight and to just pray. As Chad’s health started getting worse, I prayed harder and harder everyday and all day for that miracle to happen. I would look at Tammi with a loving heart for her strength to show us everything when she didn’t have to at all.

“After Chad’s passing, I would cry everyday asking why this would happen to the family and to sweet Chad. The answer was God and his purpose for the Carr family and Chad as one of his angels, helping to fight the fight for the other children and families affected by this horrible monster. In January, I took a leap of faith to join something to make extra money to help donate to the foundation. Just recently, I decided that I wanted to be at home with my kids because I didn’t want to lose out on any more precious time with my family. Everyday I cry and pray for Chad wishing I had met him just once to tell him that he has made such a difference and an impact on so many people, but I know he already knows that as he looks down from heaven on all of us!! I will always be #chadtoughforever!”

Caroline
“I struggle to put into words what little Chad Carr means to me! I can honestly say, I have never been so moved and touched by someone I have never even met. I hoped and prayed for a miracle from a far and it truly broke my heart when Chad passed away. That luminous little boy will always hold a special place in my heart. Also, Tammi’s strength has really affected me. Her grace and selflessness throughout has been a constant inspiration, Tammi always puts her family first. Her poignant and open updates, her faith and determination in continuing Chads legacy are truly life affirming. I will forever be Chadtough! Xxx”

Audra
Chad Carr“So many people have hit it on the head – even if you haven’t met Chad, his story forces you to stop and appreciate everything you have. I’ll try to keep our story brief! I’m a University of Maryland girl who married into a Michigan family (my husband Eric played baseball at UM and is perhaps the biggest Michigan fan on the planet!) He is also a childhood cancer survivor. When we heard about Chad, we were trying to get pregnant and had actually began the process of fertility treatments because we weren’t having any luck thus far. But Chad’s story forces you not to feel sorry for yourself – whatever it is that you’re facing and to keep fighting – keep being ‘CHADTOUGH’

“We learned we finally were pregnant and were having a baby boy! Throughout pregnancy, we were continuing to follow the story and then towards the end of pregnancy, Chad entered into hospice care. He ended up passing away on the exact date our son Ty was born (11/23/15). What a bittersweet day. So we both made a promise to ourselves in the hospital room that day that ChadTough was going to be the cause that we direct our energy towards – now and forever! I read once that Tammi’s worst fear was that her child might be forgotten. With us, that’s impossible. We’ll always know how long it’s been since Chad passed because we’ll just look at how much our son has grown and think of him. Ty even has blonde hair and blue eyes!!!!

“We believe God has his hand in this – without a doubt. Every time the Carrs face another month without Chad, we take a monthly picture of Ty (I attached below the one I just took today). And with every month that passes by we feel more and more grateful. ‘Haves’ turn into ‘gets.’ Meaning, I don’t HAVE to take Ty to the doctor today – I GET to take Ty to the doctor today. I don’t HAVE to clean up the mess he left since we started solid foods – I GET to clean up the mess! I know I said that would be brief – sorry!!! But I could go on forever about how much this means to me/us!!!!”

Shanna
“Like so many others here I never got to meet Chad or the Carr family in person but I feel so connected due to how selflessly and sincerely Tammi Curtis Carr has shared his story. I first really started following Chad’s story when they first announced he was entering hospice. My son who is just a year younger than Chad reminded me so much of him such a fighter, lover of paw patrol and stickers! I sat in amazement as I watched this amazing mother help her son cope with this monster and somehow find peace and God’s love through it all. I knew that Chad’s story had really just begun as I sat watching his celebration of life with tears steaming down my face.

“The following Sunday I went to a new church for the first time in 6 years. I signed my son up for Sunday school for the first time in his life. I was baptized in March and this coming week I will officially be a member. I can say without a doubt that my faith has never been stronger that my son now knows the love and hope of Jesus Christ and it’s all because of this precious little boy that the Carr family has so graciously shared with us. I still feel his life touching mine in the little things each and everyday and every night I pray to our good Lord and tell him to thank Chad once again for me. His life on earth and now his legacy is a true miracle that I’ve been able to watch unfold over these past six months and I can’t wait to see what the future holds…I’m pretty sure it’s an end to this DIPG monster since I know us Champions won’t stop till that happens! #foreverchadtough”

Teri
“From the moment Tammi put out a call for all to pray for her sweet Chad, she and the entire Carr family taught us all about faith, hope, and love.”

Brian
“From quite a distance here Alabama, I learned about Chad last summer. Having a son the same age their story hit home. I’ve never been much of a volunteer or a champion of a cause, however The Carr family’s has had two impacts on me. The first is perspective. As many here have stated similarly , I’ve always been more focused on career or things you needed to get done around the house. Spending time with the kids always came after everything else was done. After the pool deck was pressure washed, after the yard had new mulch, after the 8pm conference call, etc.

“The second is inspiration to act. Donating, asking others to donate, sharing this story … Whether participating in Runtough, infinity challenge, and so on, it’s important to do more than be upset, you must act. I’ve spent a lot of time with and been around a few CEOs and coaches in my life and I’ve only ever been inspired by a couple people. One was someone I’ve never even met…Tammi Curtis Carr. You see, her ability to inspire others to action and share her unimaginable journey with the world has had a positive impact on individuals like myself and DIPG research for years to come. Thus, I think Chad’s greatest gift to us all was his mom.”

How has knowing Chad Carr impacted your life? Please share your story below!