$30M in gifts to establish Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center
An incurable brain tumor took Chad Carr’s life when he was just 5 years old, but now his name will be synonymous with research to fight the lethal pediatric brain cancer.
Multiple donors have committed $30 million to establish the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at U-M, an initiative to advance research and treatment for children with brain cancer.
Chad, a grandson of former U-M football coach Lloyd Carr, died in 2015, 14 months after being diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), among the most aggressive and lethal types of brain tumors.
“We are grateful for the generous gifts allowing us to honor Chad through transformational research that will help other children defeat this terrible disease. This is a monumental milestone in our mission to conquer pediatric brain cancer,” said Valerie Opipari, M.D., a pediatric oncologist and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “U-M is positioned to lead the search for cures and committed to pushing the limits of what we know about pediatric brain tumors in order to advance science and revolutionize treatment.”
The joint announcement by Michigan Medicine and The ChadTough Foundation was made at the foundation’s annual Champions for Change Gala on Saturday, May 19.
“We want to see a day when no family will ever have to suffer this kind of heartbreak,” said Chad’s mom, Tammi Carr. “We believe that the work happening in Chad’s name at the U-M Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center will change the future for other children. This is Chad’s legacy.”
Thousands of supporters from across the country came together to raise the $30 million needed to establish and name the center in Chad Carr’s memory. U-M Regent Ron Weiser and Eileen Weiser made lead gifts, along with generous donations from Wayne and Shelly Jones and the Jones Family Foundation, the Glick family and Alro Steel, The ChadTough Foundation, William and Sharon Stein, Frank and Barbara Westover, and David and Joan Evans.
Brain tumors are the leading cause of death from childhood cancer, and the most dreaded type is DIPG — which stems from the region of the brain that controls vital functions such as breathing and heart rate. Research proves that chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, which together have been the foundation for cancer therapy advances during the last two decades, are not effective against DIPG. More than 90 percent of children diagnosed with DIPG die within 18 months of diagnosis.
“The Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center will leverage the breadth and depth of expertise across the university to fuel innovative research and deliver new therapies for children with brain cancer,” said Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the U-M Medical School and CEO of Michigan Medicine. “This incredible collaboration brings together a renowned team of doctors and scientists at Michigan who will pool knowledge and break traditional boundaries to drive advances in research and treatment for pediatric brain cancer.”