When we first started planning for the Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge in December, we were excited and driven.
Honoring Chad by winning this contest was at the forefront of our minds, and as more and more committed to talking about the need for DIPG research dollars, our team only grew stronger.
We were fueled by educating the masses through telling stories of heartbroken families, explaining the science behind the disease, and shining a light on the lack of funding and medical injustices surrounding DIPG.
Our commanding lead in the contest reflected our daily support. With more than 2,000 people voting and spreading the word, we had no doubt we would win this contest for Chad and the other DIPG families.
Now, though, things are different. The political nature of this contest has taken over and it’s no longer about spreading awareness, it’s about getting votes. Instead of excitement and joy over doing the right thing, we are panicking at the thought of not being able to win this contest for Chad.
That’s really what it’s about, after all. This contest started less than two months after he left this earth, and it became a way to officially honor his memory. If we don’t win this contest, all of the effort, hard work, and dedication will be for naught. Or will it?
Jason and Tammi want to get that national spot on ESPN to tell the world what DIPG is and what needs to happen for treatment options to become a reality. They will do whatever it takes to ensure other families aren’t met with the same dead end they were met with when they were told, “DIPG.”
The truth is, though, we can’t control the outcome of this contest. Perhaps micromanaging the voting is the way to go, but maybe it’s not. All I know is that I felt pure joy when we were spreading the word and raising awareness for DIPG. As sad as these stories are, they are uplifting and amazing and inspiring. Introducing the world to these incredible children and their families is making a difference and we aren’t going to stop just because this contest ends.
Vote Coach Beilein for ChadTough!VOTE: espn.com/infiniti
We are so thankful for Coach Beilein and Kathleen’s unwavering support for ChadTough! Choosing ChadTough for this year’s Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge has raised the volume of DIPG’s voice. Go Blue and vote Coach Beilein and ChadTough every day!
Posted by The ChadTough Foundation on Saturday, February 6, 2016
Do we want to win this for Chad? Desperately. We desperately want all of the hard work we have put into promoting this contest to come to fruition in a win. We want Coach Beilein and Kathleen to have a tangible win for all of the sacrifices they have made with their time and effort for the cause. We want the 2,000-plus volunteers to be able to holler and whoop over a win for ChadTough. We want the Michigan State and Ohio State faithful who crossed enemy lines for us to have an award they can hold up high.
But it might not happen.
We have to come to terms with the fact that it may not happen. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay if we don’t win the Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge because we will continue to do all the same things we were doing before. We will continue to fight for DIPG research dollars and awareness.
It’s important to me that we don’t lose sight of what this contest is about: wonderful NCAA men’s basketball coaches selecting charities to represent. Charities doing great things that should be recognized.
Thad Matta – Ronald McDonald House
Ohio State’s Thad Matta is representing the Ronald McDonald House, an organization near and dear to the Carrs. They stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in New York when Chad was going through treatment and have nothing but wonderful things to say about their experience.
These facilities allow families to make a home away from home while their children are being treated in the hospital — something invaluable during very stressful times.
Matt Painter — Smith Family BReaK Thru Fund
Purdue’s Matt Painter is representing the Smith Family BReaK Thru Fund, which supports the Smith family’s efforts toward raising research dollars in the name of their three children: Braden, Riley, and Keaton.
All three children were diagnosed with Riemann-Pick Type C disease (NPC), a neurodegenerative disorder which causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system. Sadly, Braden lost his fight with NPC in 2006 at age 10, while Riley and Keaton continue to fight.
The Smith Family BReaK Thru Fund is dedicated to funding research projects for NPC the way the Carrs are dedicated to funding research projects for DIPG.
Brad Underwood – Nacogdoches Area United Way
Stephen F. Austin’s Brad Underwood is representing the Nacogdoches Area United Way, which serves its community in the areas of education, health and financial stability. Just as the many Ronald McDonald House locations around the country are fantastic in what they do, so are the many United Way locations.
Coach Underwood is not only representing the NAUW in this contest, he offers his time and has been named the 2015 Tim Hayward Volunteer of the Year.
John Beilein – The ChadTough Foundation
Last, but certainly not least, Coach Beilein has done an incredible job representing The ChadTough Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising research dollars and awareness for DIPG. This disease is one that desperately needs a voice.
Parents are delivered the diagnosis and, unfortunately, left flailing. They are tasked with the responsibility of guiding their child’s treatment in a sea of few options. More often than not, the only hope these parents can cling to is one that comes with an experimental clinical trial that puts their child through too many pokes and uncomfortable procedures.
Treatment for DIPG hasn’t changed in more than 40 years and it point-blank isn’t fair. These otherwise perfectly-healthy children are dying because we have no concrete answers.
Thankfully, family foundations throughout the country are helping answers materialize. Research dollars are being raised, tumors are being donated, and progress is happening. The tipping point has been awareness. The more people learn about this horrible disease, the more progress is made.
Please consider sharing this story in the name of DIPG and voting for Coach Beilein. Yes, we are hoping to win this contest for Chad, but even if you simply share this story and make someone aware of DIPG who wasn’t before, we have honored our sweet little boy and all of the other incredible children who fly high with him.