Chad Tough expands family to Grand Rapids

Posted at 3:05 PM, Sep 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-03 23:37:26-04

On Friday night, at every ballpark in America, kids like Pittsburgh's Darren Dunlap, who are fighting cancer bravely, got to be apart of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Night.

Darren's story is an uplifting one, as she is back in school as she still fights leukemia, surrounded by an enormous support system.

Support, comes in many ways.

In the case of Amanda Ruddy, it was a phone call to another mother, Tammi Carr, at a very difficult time.

"I remember being in her shoes, and I don't think she really wanted to talk to me and I remember not wanting to talk to anybody because I was like that's not going to be my story, my kids not, my kids going to make this," Tammi Carr recalled of the first phone call from Amanda.

Amanda's son, Tommy, was diagnosed with DIPG, the same rare brain cancer that the Chad Tough Foundation was raised awareness and research funds for the last three years.

Sadly, the disease took tommy just 11 weeks after diagnosis. Like Tammi, Amanda was stunned that so little light is shed on DIPG and that prompted her into action.

"The fact that less than 1% goes to pediatric research is really hard to swallow a tough pill to swallow," Amanda said.

These two women, woven together through tragedy are now on the same team. The Chad Tough reach is national, but Ruddy is now the flag bearer in Grand Rapids, uniting the east and west sides of the state to unite to defeat DIPG.

"Kind of what brought us together is what keeps us fighting for this every day. Nobody wants to be in the situation but we were brought together for a reason," Ruddy said.

"Tommy and Chad resembled each other's which is always something that struck us. People say that we look like sisters which is kind of strange how all of this works, but that's how we've done everything from day one we find the brick that seems late out for us and that's where we step," Carr added.

The Tigers foundation, for the second straight year is selling special bow ties to help the Chad Tough Foundation, these are available here.

Also, if you want to help, you can join the run Tough for Chad Tough walk/run in either side of the state.

More details here.