At 14, CJ Carr has already lived a life that most cannot even begin to comprehend.
He was born in the spotlight as the son and grandson of Michigan football royalty. His dad Jason was a Michigan quarterback in the early to mid-nineties. His “Papa Lloyd” is one of Michigan’s most legendary football coaches, winning multiple Big Ten Conference titles, and even a National Championship. His other grandfather, “Pipi” (aka Tom Curtis) was an All American at Michigan in the late 60’s and still holds records for interceptions that have yet to be broken to this day.
CJ is also Chad Carr’s big brother.
On September 23rd, 2014, CJ was 9 years old when he learned that his baby brother was diagnosed with a disease that had no cure, and a 0% chance of survival. As the oldest of the Carr boys, CJ had always felt protective of both of his little brothers. However, in the 14 months that followed Chad’s devastating diagnosis, CJ was left feeling completely helpless. He watched his baby brother decline in health, while fighting through painful “pokes” and procedures and treatments. He watched as his other little brother, Tommy- closer to Chad in age- grappled with the fact that he was losing his “built in” best friend.. and he watched his parents utilize every ounce of strength they had to fight this disease and save their baby boy.
When Chad gained his angel wings on November 23 rd, 2015, CJ was forced to experience a loss that seems unimaginable to most...and in the spotlight no less. With that came a newfound perspective and a vow to live a life like Chad did... with a courageous heart, unwavering optimism, and unparalleled strength.
This perspective has completely altered the way that CJ approaches his life today. He is able to overlook challenges that many 14 year olds would struggle with.. as there is no greater challenge than fighting for your life.
This year, CJ made the decision to forgo entering the 9th grade with the peers he grew up with. He did this with confidence, and for a multitude of reasons. Foremost, CJ wants to “give back” to other children like Chad, that have been presented with insurmountable obstacles - like taking an opportunity to visit underprivileged children in other countries through missionary work.
He also wanted to give his family one more year together to make up for the year that DIPG took away from them.
While CJ is an incredible student, athlete, and all around human being.. he would not consider “dancing” to be one of his strengths. That being said, there is no obstacle bigger than fighting for your life... in the same way that Chad did. Grateful that he no longer has to feel “helpless,” CJ is excited to dance for Chad… and to have the opportunity to help in finding a cure.