Celebrity basketball game to raise money for ChadTough Foundatio - WNEM TV 5

Celebrity basketball game to raise money for ChadTough Foundation

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

5-year-old Chad Carr loved giving kisses, dancing with his two brothers C.J. and Tommy, and playing with his beloved pup, Tootie.

"He always smiled," said Tammi Carr, Chad’s mom.

Always. Even up to the very end.

"He didn't have a lot of bad days and he would tell you, even when he was sick, 'I have the best life,’" Tammi Carr said.

Chad's life was cut short after he was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG – an aggressive, inoperable and always deadly form of pediatric brain cancer.

On Sept. 23, 2014 the Carr family was told there was no treatment plan, no survival rate, and just six to nine months left to cherish Chad.

"I mean… it knocks the wind right out of you and, in all honesty, that moment is probably the worst moment of my life," Tammi Carr said. "We lost Chad and it was horrible, but we had a year to form amazing memories and to kind of prepare ourselves in some way. When you get a diagnosis like that, and basically we took him back because he fell and broke his nose, we took him to the hospital and THAT is what they come out with… That's a moment that changes your life forever."

For 14 months after that moment, the Carrs were determined to make as many memories with Chad as they could.

"Whatever he wanted to do, we made it happen. Went to Disney World twice, Great Wolf Lodge, got a dog. I mean, all the things we could do with him that he asked to do, within reason, we did them," Tammi Carr said.

Throughout Chad's journey, the Carrs discovered Chad is one of hundreds of children who are diagnosed with DIPG every year.

Despite those hundreds of family members who have to watch their baby wither away, there's almost nothing doctors can do and no funding from the national institute of cancer to change that.

The Carrs thought this wasn't acceptable and wanted to make the change themselves.

"We need to create change because this could happen to anybody. I mean, we never thought in a million years we'd be dealing with this," Tammi Carr said.

And the ChadTough Foundation was born.

In just about six months, the nonprofit, with the help of their Michigan Wolverines family, has raised more than a million dollars for DIPG research.

On Sunday, a local organization hopes ChadTough can raise even more.

As in year's past, the Tri-City Wels Men's Basketball League is hosting its All-Star Celebrity game.

But this year, the players and spectators will be supporting ChadTough.

And while the players might not be as talented as Chad, they'll hit the hardwood hoping each shot scores more DIPG research.

Tammi Carr said she couldn't be more grateful.

"I mean to see the ground-swell and the outpouring of support that continues, that's when we know Chad had a special role in this world and it was to create change," Tammi Carr said. "He was an inspiration little boy, a beautiful little boy and he inspired a ton of people and… that was God."

For his last 14 months, Chad fought a tough fight.

"Our pastor put in this picture of this lion. Because God was with him the whole time and so was our community and he had such a support with him. He was never alone," Tammi Carr said.

On Nov. 23, 2015 Chad passed away.

Despite the heartbreak, Tammi Carr said she hopes Chad's spirit spurs change for the hundreds of families who have to take on DIPG.

"We feel like it's our responsibility to keep that going for Chad, to create his legacy and to make… make it so one day, of course, there will be a treatment plan when somebody gets that diagnosis and then someday, there will be a cure," Tammi Carr said.

To support the ChadTough Foundation, attendees at the basketball game can purchase raffle tickets for an autographed Draymond Green jersey.

In addition to TV5's Meg McLeod and Andrew Keller, celebrities Tory Jackson, Stu Schweigert, Blair White, and Jenny Ryan will be playing. 

For a full list and more details on the game, visit www.tricitycelebritygame.com

Doors open at 4 p.m. on March 20. The game will be hosted at Michigan Lutheran Seminary at 2777 Hardin Street, Saginaw.

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