Play with your Heart
As a Heart Warrior, TJ Carrie is committed to providing passionate support to children diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD.) His focus is on the child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs, and that of their family, while listening to their fears and uncertainties.
His encouraging message is to be brave, remain strong, work hard, and dream big. That is the “TJ Carrie Heart Warrior” battle cry. Together, the children with CHD and their families can overcome the fears and uncertainties they face each day.
Along with mentorship, the TJ Carrie Foundation provides programs for support and health information: Camp Carrie, Shadow Buddies, and Heart Screening.
“CAMP CARRIE | A Family Retreat for Heart Warriors” was founded by TJ and Ty’lsha Carrie as a retreat for families dealing with the challenges that come when a child has heart disease.
The camp provides emotional support to these parents and siblings with heart health education, family fun activities, and a chance to share Heart Warrior tales. TJ’s family, including his parents and brothers, assist with camp activities. They talk about their fears and the impact that TJ’s open-heart surgery had on their family.
CAMP CARRIE is held annually at Maumee Bay, one of the Great Ohio Lodges located on Lake Erie. Families experience a warm and loving environment with other children and parents with similar life experiences.
A day at CAMP CARRIE includes games, swimming, hiking trails, fitness activities, crafts, marina experience and concludes with a fireside heart chat and s’mores.
This camp is offered free of charge to the families, including lodging, food, and camp activities.
The success of Camp Carrie comes from TJ having heart-to-heart talks with the children and their parents. It does not take long for the kids to come together and create a friendship that hopefully will last for years to come. Something special comes when experiences are shared and connections made.
TJ Carrie and his family are Heart Warriors and are honored to join with other Heart Warriors who also have faith, love, hope, and compassion!
Heart shadow Buddy
TJ joined the Shadow Buddies Foundation to create the “TJ Carrie Heart Shadow Buddy.”
The buddy is a soft doll designed to be a “friend like me,” with an incision scar down the chest and a red mended heart, complete with a #38 Carrie T-shirt and NFL-themed shorts. The “TJ Carrie Shadow Buddy” lets children know they are never alone, that they have a friend … a buddy. TJ faced fear when undergoing his open-heart surgery and understands that having a buddy provides comfort and something tangible that can be held onto at that moment and even for a lifetime.
TJ personally delivers the “TJ Carrie Heart Shadow Buddies” to local children’s hospitals
when visiting heart patients throughout the year. Carrie often shows his own “zipper” scar and shares his experiences with children who have similar scars.
Each year, TJ and Ty’Isha Carrie celebrate Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of TJ’s open heart surgery, at children’s hospitals, spreading the holiday cheer to heart patients. Carrie delivers heart-shaped balloons, his Heart Shadow Buddy, and a “Heart Warrior” message to children and parents who are also celebrating this special day filled with hope, courage, and love.
At Christmastime, you’ll find the Carries dressed in Santa hats and carrying a Santa bag filled with his Heart Shadow Buddy along with other unique gifts.
TJ and Ty’Isha have personally delivered hundreds of the “TJ Carrie Heart Shadow Buddies” to heart patients at Oakland Children’s Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children in Cleveland,
the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis