News Tip

RunTough for ChadTough is Sept. 16!

This post expresses the views and opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily that of The Saline Post management or staff.

In September of 2014, we learned our son, Chad, had an inoperable brain tumor called DIPG for which there was no cure. Doctors told us he likely had 9 months to live and we should focus on making memories. The only standard of care was radiation, which he did. He participated in a cutting edge trial in NYC that we hoped would give him more time, knowing deep down it would never save him. He beat the odds and lived for exactly 14 more months, passing away at home, surrounded by his family, on November 23, 2015 when he was just 5 years old.

Since then, we’ve learned that brain cancer kills more kids than any other type, and DIPG is responsible for almost half of all childhood brain cancer deaths. Chad was one of them. Before Chad’s diagnosis, I had no idea - never in a million years ever considered I would lose a child to cancer. Now, I know better.

Everyone deals with grief differently. I knew the only way through the darkness was to channel my energy into causing change for the family that came next. Chad was offered the same treatment as Neil Armstrong’s daughter, Muffy, six decades earlier. What??? We couldn’t advance the science for the deadliest form of childhood cancer in six decades? Chad had awakened the need to do something about childhood cancer in so many people. My husband, Jason, and I came to realize it was our job to carry on what Chad started - to motivate people to care about this disease and raise funds to find a cure.

RunTough was the start of what would eventually become our foundation, the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation. A few weeks after Chad’s diagnosis, our neighbors rallied together to host a Fun Run in Chad’s honor. So many people came out that cold morning to lend their support. Chad was there - although not very happy, until he was allowed to sit in the cabin of the fire truck and pull the horn, which he loved because it scared anyone running by! Afterwards, Jason and I knew we had to keep the momentum going.

This September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are hosting the 10th annual RunTough for ChadTough event, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield. We now host the event every September as a way to celebrate Chad’s birthday (September 26th). He would have turned 13 this year. He should be heading into the 7th grade in a couple of weeks. I wonder every day what he would look like, sound like, and enjoy doing. Would he be tall like his brothers? Would orange still be his favorite color? Would he still be the jokester of the family?

We hope this year you’ll join us at Hornet Stadium on September 16th for the race and the Family Fun Zone, which will include a dunk tank, an inflatable, and many more fun things for the kids! OR, sign up as a virtual runner and we’ll send you a shirt. You can participate however and wherever you’d like!

Your support matters! If you’ve ever participated in RunTough, please COME BACK! If you’ve never joined us for this fun, family-friendly event, please TRY IT OUT.

By coming together, this community launched the largest childhood brain cancer foundation in the world. While we have definitely made progress toward a cure, we still have a lot more work to do. So join us for this very special year!

RunTough has raised almost $2.5M to support our mission to help DIPG patients and families by funding game-changing research and providing navigation throughout their journey. Nowmore than ever before, researchers are making frequent discoveries that are getting us closer to a cure. We couldn’t save our son, but we CAN ensure that one day children like Chad will have the bright, happy futures they deserve.

Sign up by August 22nd to guarantee your shirt and before prices go up! Tell a friend and help us spread the word. Together, we can change the future for children in the fight! 

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