UM players' ChadTough drive gets big boost from Regent Ron Weiser

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Ron Weiser

The ChadTough Foundation fundraiser spearheaded by Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich has received an enormous boost.

Ron Weiser, a University of Michigan Regent, will match donations up to $1 million total, the ChadTough Foundation announced Tuesday. All donations will be directed to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Initiative at Michigan Medicine, which supported the research of Chad Carr’s donated tumor that shed light into the rare pediatric tumor that took his life two years ago.

That fundraiser was approaching $130,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Winovich kicked off the fundraiser saying he would dye his long blond hair orange for the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day if $15,000 – his jersey number is 15 – could be raised for the ChadTough Foundation. But as teammates and defensive coordinator Don Brown joined the effort, the donation pledges have swelled.

It has been six days since Winovich first posted a video that was shared on social media. Teammates Maurice Hurst, Grant Newsome, Devin Bush Jr., Josh Metellus and Brown, along with young Michigan fan Larry Prout Jr., who has endured 100 surgeries and has become part of the Michigan program, all joined in on Winovich's plan and also will dye their hair orange.

Newsome pledged to dye his hair orange if $38,500 was raised since that's half his jersey number 77. Hurst said if $73,000 – his number is 73 – was raised, he would go orange, while Bush (jersey No. 10) and Prout raised the bar to $100,000. Winovich then revealed that Brown said he would dye his mustache orange if $125,000 was reached.

The ChadTough Foundation was created by parents Tammi and Jason Carr, whose son, Chad, died two years ago at age 5, 14 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Chad's grandfathers have deep Michigan connects, as do his parents, who are both graduates. Jason Carr played quarterback for his father, Lloyd Carr, who coached the Wolverines for 13 seasons, and Tammi's father, Tom Curtis, was an All-American defensive back.

Tammi Carr, who created the #ChadTough hashtag on social media soon after Chad was diagnosed and had response from around the world, posted on Facebook earlier this week that Winovich approached her about his idea of dying his hair orange if $15,000 was raised for the ChadTough Foundation. The challenge was posted at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, and five hours later, $10,000 had been raised.

"The legacy the Carr family has with Michigan really resonated with me and their mission," Winovich said in a video. "I always said, if there was any chance I had to give back and help out with that, I would do it."

Money raised goes toward research.

"It's such a wonderful effort by people that have been touched by this kid," Lloyd Carr said in a release by the ChadTough Foundation. "Chad has inspired and motivated people to try to make sure that someday these kids that are diagnosed will be able to live a good life and not be subject to all the horrible things that go with this disease."