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RUNTOUGH — T-Shirt Deadline is 9/8. Prices Go Up Friday.

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What started as a family-friendly local run to uplift a Saline family has now become a major celebration in the world of pediatric cancer — right here in our own community.

Now in its ninth year, the annual RunTough for ChadTough 5K and 1M Fun Run, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, will take place in person on Saturday, October 1, at Saline High School and virtually from anywhere in the world. This community event brings together families and volunteers, both locally and across the world, to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research in honor of Chad Carr, who lost his life to this horrible disease at the age of 5.

Register by September 8th before prices go up and to guarantee your race shirt!

This year’s local event will feature a variety of ways for the whole family to have a ton of fun, all while making a difference in the fight against pediatric brain cancer. Come early to enjoy the DJ, hang out with Saline mascot “Sting,” and let the kids get their hair decked out for the event by Jeffrey McLaughlin and his crew from Renew Salon & Spa.

As has become tradition, the race will begin upon the pulling of the fire truck horn. Runners/walkers will be cheered on along the route by athletes from both the University of Michigan and Saline High School. Upon finishing the race, participants will receive a medal and have the chance to get a snack and enjoy the Family Fun Zone, sponsored by Meijer, which will include a dunk tank, an obstacle course, face painting, and other surprises. New this year — the foundation will be introducing a TOT RACE, which will be held in the Family Fun Zone around 10am. And don’t forget, kids 5 & under are FREE!

RunTough started in 2014, just 5 weeks after Chad was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), the deadliest form of pediatric cancer with a near 0% survival rate. The community of Saline rallied together in a magnificent show of support for the Carr family with the first race, which raised more than $15,000.

Since then, RunTough alone has raised over $2 million for pediatric brain cancer research and has inspired nearly 17,000 registrants.The event has now become one of the foundation’s primary fundraisers and continues to grow year after year. While runners can still join the Carr family in person in Saline and can run past Chad’s house on the 5K route, virtual participants are welcome to run, walk, bike, or daydream… wherever and whenever it works for them!

This event will always be much more than just a race to the Carr family. They get to celebrate Chad’s birthday (September 26th) in a meaningful way, surrounded by the community that has propped them up since the day they learned about DIPG, just 3 days before Chad’s 4th birthday. Every milestone is difficult — the first day of school, holidays, birthdays, the anniversary of his passing — but the most difficult day for the Carrs is the anniversary of his diagnosis. It marks the day their life was forced on a new trajectory, one that would have to go on without Chad. But they eventually came to realize that this new trajectory would be about fulfilling Chad’s legacy by funding research for a cure.

“When you lose a child, special anniversaries are so hard,” Tammi Carr said, “but having something constructive to do in Chad’s honor, with our entire community, has made this one of our favorite weekends. I love seeing kids engaged, and it takes the edge off of that memory to know that we’re doing so much good on his birthday.”

Over the years, the foundation has grown to include dozens of other families from across the country and Mexico. Many of the Family Partners, who have also faced pediatric brain cancer, are hosting virtual teams or their own local events in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

RunTough in Saline will kick off at 8:30am on October 1 with an opening ceremony. The 5K and 1M Fun Run will start at 9am, and families are welcome to check out the Family Fun Zone throughout the event. The closing ceremony will be held at 10:30am with awards for the top 5K runners by age group.

“Seeing so many people out there come together for this cause is a physical way for us to see how our children’s legacy is raising awareness and changing the world,” said Tammi Carr.

In 2021, The ChadTough Foundation united with the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation from Bethesda, Maryland to become the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation. The foundation is now the world leader in DIPG research funding, providing over $20 million to 48 researchers across 31 different institutions around the world since inception in 2015. It is headquartered in Saline, Michigan, the town that gave birth to the foundation. Powered by families who have had to face a pediatric brain cancer diagnosis, including the families of Chad Carr and Michael Mosier (the founding families) as well as over 30 Family Partners, the foundation will not stop until DIPG is no longer a death sentence. One day, DIPG will have a cure. Join us so that one day can become today!

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