The brothers, both former Fresno State football quarterbacks who went on to play in the NFL, have felt a great love and respect for the hospital and its staff since Derek’s son was a patient there in 2013.
Their support of the hospital has included appearing in television and radio commercials, visits with children and their families and a massive amount of signed NFL merchandise that gets distributed to patients.
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The only pay the Carrs receive for all their support is the satisfaction they get from giving back to the hospital and its staff.
“They helped save our son’s life. It’s just amazing to have a place like that where everyone is so well trained and so smart,” Derek says. “Not only did the staff take care of Dallas, but they were there to make sure we were OK also.”
The pregnancy for Derek’s wife, Heather, had gone smoothly, and she gave birth to Dallas, who weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Six hours later, doctors discovered Dallas’ intestines were tangled, and the only way to correct the life-threatening situation was with surgery.
After two surgeries and a 23-day stay in the hospital, Dallas went home; his father says the youngster is happy and healthy.
The Carr brothers are two of the biggest celebrities to come out of this area starting with their days as quarterbacks at Fresno State and continuing through their careers in the NFL. David’s playing days are over, but he now is working with the NFL Network. Derek led the Oakland Raiders to their best season in years before his season ended with an injury.
Because they are so well known, the Carrs often are asked to support productions, companies and charities. No matter what else they do, they will always find time for Valley Children’s.
“This is something that is near to our hearts,” Derek says. “We want families to have the same kind of positive experience we had. When we were there, it didn’t matter that I was a Fresno State quarterback. They treated everyone with the same care and attention.”
The medical situation with Dallas cemented the feelings the Carrs have with Valley Children’s, but David already had become a fan of the hospital years earlier. While he was still at Fresno State, the university’s public relations office asked him if he would go to the hospital to talk with the children and their families.
What he saw during that visit touched him deeply.
“I got to see how much they care about families and the patients,” David says. “What stood out to me was that they care about the entire process. Then when Dallas was there, supporting the hospital became a no-brainer. I have lived in Houston and New York and seen children’s hospitals there. Nothing touches Valley Children’s.”
Great hospital care resonates even louder to David, who has two children who are diabetic.
A lot of the support the Carrs show for the hospital goes unnoticed, but they are prominent in a series of its commercials. Both have found filming the commercials to be fun experiences, even if it means dressing up to attend a little girl’s tea party.
“I think the cool thing is that the kids in the commercials are patients there. There are kids with cancer and kids who have gone through something else. That makes it real and doesn’t make it feel like we are just trying to promote something,” Derek says. “The smiles and laughing on those days are very real.”
I had the time of my life making the commercial with the tea party.
David echoes his brother’s sentiments about the commercials.
“They do such a good job and they always have such great ideas. When we did the one in the go-carts, it turned out to be a cool time for the family.”
Derek enjoys making the commercials even if it means getting a bit of good-natured ribbing from David. The NFL quarterback can remember a book full of Oakland Raiders plays, but he struggles with lines of dialogue during the commercial shoot.
David, who has had more practice with delivering lines, coaches his younger brother to just go with the moment.
“He has ad-libbed a little and I think it has made the spots better,” David says, adding that the commercial shoots end up being so much fun because at the end of the day “we are brothers.”
The brothers are willing to do almost anything for the hospital. Well, almost.
Derek jokes that he would be a little hesitant if one of the commercials called for him to go skydiving.
How to help
Make a donation to Kid’s Day at www.valleychildrens.org/donate