ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Tammi Curtis Carr found out about Chase Winovich’s charitable endeavor first-hand.
Winovich, a defensive end on the Michigan football team, approached Carr, the daughter of former Michigan football player Tom Curtis and the daughter-in-law of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, as she was outside of Michigan’s team facility earlier this month with his idea: Raise money to go towards research that would benefit brain-tumor research, and would honor Carr’s late son, Chad.
Winovich is noticeable not just for his play or for his gregarious personality. Many also recognize Winovich for his shoulder-length blonde hair. He announced Dec. 20 that if he met a fundraising goal of $15,000 to benefit the ChadTough Foundation, he would dye his hair orange for the Outback Bowl.
Winovich’s fundraising efforts for the ChadTough Foundation have galvanized a close-knit legion of fans. As of 1:45 p.m. ET Tuesday, more than 1,950 donations made through Winovich’s CrowdRise fundraising website page totaled more than $130,000 to benefit the ChadTough Foundation — more than eight times Winovich’s original goal of $15,000.
He’s going to DYE HIS HAIR ORANGE for the Outback Bowl if we raise $15,000 for No. 15!
— ChadTough Foundation (@chadtough) December 20, 2017
What began as a modest goal became a full-blown movement that raised money and awareness for a good cause. And Winovich and his teammates are having some fun doing it.
A color for a cause
Chad Carr was diagnosed in September of 2014 with DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), an inoperable tumor on his brain stem. Children who are diagnosed with DIPG have, at best, a year to live after an initial diagnosis. Chad Carr lived for a little more than a year after his diagnosis, yet has become a rallying point for the Michigan fan base.
Since 2015, the Carr family has made it a mission to raise money for awareness and research towards DIPG, and established the ChadTough Foundation. Three years later, the campaign for DIPG awareness and research continues. It also has become a unique way for the Wolverines to prepare for the Outback Bowl.
Chad Carr’s favorite color was orange. Winovich was the first to pledge to dye his hair orange for the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 against South Carolina. He announced Christmas Day that fundraising efforts have far exceeded his initial $15,000 goal.
I started this challenge with the hope of raising $15,000 in about 10 days. As a community of people taking a stand against DIPG and childhood cancer, we have went above and beyond that. Thank you to everyone that has made this Christmas the most special! pic.twitter.com/2O0k8XTBD3
— Chase Winovich (@Chase_Winovich) December 25, 2017
A few of his teammates have joined the cause.
Offensive lineman Grant Newsome announced he would dye his hair orange if the fundraising efforts reached a certain threshold.
Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, did, too.
Looks like I’m going ORANGE for the Outback bowl😂😂😂 #Letsgetit
— Maurice Hurst Jr (@mohurstjr) December 23, 2017
So did safety Josh Metellus and linebacker Devin Bush.
Aye im right with him 🤷🏾♂️ Get us to 100,000🙏🏾 https://t.co/FmvTGX8Mfn
— Josh Metellus (@NoExcuses_23) December 21, 2017
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown is expected to dye his mustache orange, as well.
— Don Brown (@FBCoachDBrown) December 24, 2017
Even Michigan fans are getting involved in the efforts, and not just with their wallets. Larry Prout Jr., who became an honorary member of the Michigan football team last year through Team IMPACT, pledged to dye his hair orange if the fundraising effort eclipsed the $100,000 mark.
My dog Chevy loves Michigan just like me! And thank you everyone who donated for the @Chase_Winovich challenge to #ChadTough foundation to reach over $100,000 I'll be dying my hair orange in Tampa for the outback bowl! #GoBlue @chadtough @grant_newsome @UMichFootball pic.twitter.com/OIXq72ZbqR
— Larry Prout Jr BEAR (@coobles321) December 24, 2017
Going orange, getting green
Winovich’s fundraising efforts got an even bigger bump Tuesday, when University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser announced he will match donations made to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Initiative with Michigan Medicine of up to $1 million.
“It’s such a wonderful effort by people that have been touched by this kid,” Lloyd Carr told ChadTough.org. “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.”
The ChadTough Foundation’s Facebook page already features an artist’s rendering of Winovich and Hurst with their hair dyed bright orange.
The dollar amount on the Crowdfire page continues to swell, with the Outback Bowl only six days away in Tampa, Fla.
“These fantastic young men have done this on their own,” Tammi Curtis Carr wrote on Facebook. “Chase took the lead and others have now followed … using their tremendous platform for good. My father in law has always preached about the importance of finding a cause greater than yourself and embracing it. … These Michigan men are doing just that and we should all be so proud of them.”