Carr talks to Congress about cancer research funding

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Tammi Carr, who tirelessly fundraises and promotes awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), the rare pediatric cancer that took her son, Chad, spoke Wednesday on Capitol Hill during a hearing on federally funded cancer research.

Carr was part of a panel that went before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to discuss the need for cancer research funding in light of the president’s proposed budget that would slash one-fifth of the National Institutes of Health budget, roughly $6 million.

Chad Carr was 3 when he was diagnosed with the inoperable brain tumor, and passed away when he was 5 in 2015. The family has deep ties to the University of Michigan. Chad was the grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and All-American defensive back Tom Curtis. His father, Jason, was a Michigan quarterback.

Tammi and Jason Carr created the ChadTough Foundation to raise funds for DIPG research.

“Families like theirs have turned their pain into their passion to do their purpose raising money and awareness in the hope of saving someone else the grief they experienced,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said at the hearing.

Carr, with her sons, Tommy and C.J., sitting just behind her during the hearing carried by C-SPAN, spoke passionately about the need for increased funding for DIPG, asking, “why not focus on the hardest to treat” and that would then open a “floodgate” of research that could be applied to all pediatric cancers.

While fighting back tears, Tammi said she did not “step willingly into this world,” but now she and Jason are determined to work in their son’s honor.

“It helps me get through the day to know we’re trying to create something good out of a horrible situation,” Carr told the committee, adding they are working to create a Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at UM’s Mott Hospital.

The ChadTough Foundation is holding “Dancing with the Michigan Stars” Thursday night at the Kensington Hotel in Ann Arbor to raise money for the ChadTough Foundation. Among those dancing in the competition are Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins and former Michigan football players Jamie Morris and Andy Mignery. Each participant is raising funds. Call (734) 995-9500 to make a donation.