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Lending a Hand During the Holiday

Written by Cody Tyo

“I’ve really felt the call to do more, even if it’s not a lot. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

Joe Cox, an Ann Arbor–area business owner, answered this call to make a difference in his community over the holidays.

Cox is the owner and general manager of Handyman Connection of Ann Arbor, offering construction, remodeling, and other handyman services to homeowners in the area. He is a business graduate of the University of Michigan and decided to return to Ann Arbor with his wife after a brief career in finance.

Since founding his business in 2015, he and his wife have also started a family. He credits being a father as his inspiration for contributing to the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation’s efforts.

“My heart breaks when I think about what the Carr family had to go through. I think of my 2-year-old and 4-year-old, and they’re my everything. Trying to put myself in somebody else’s position, I felt just overwhelmed by that thought,” Cox says. “It would make sense to do what I can, big or small, to help out.”

Cox has been involved with ChadTough since his time as an undergraduate student at Michigan, including past contributions to ChadTough raffles and events. He capitalized on his creativity and his growing business to make an impact this past holiday season, relying on the generosity of the Handyman Connection client base.

An entry form on the Handyman Connection website allowed customers to enter a drawing for free handyman services for a day. The requirement for entering the drawing was a minimum $30 donation to the client’s choice of two charitable organizations: ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation or Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels. Cox had previous experience working with Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, which provides nutritious meals and other services to the homebound elderly, ill, and disabled in Washtenaw County.

The promotion ran through the holiday season and amassed over $700 in total donations between the two organizations.

Cox is hopeful that the promotion of this first fundraising effort will help Handyman Connection continue to work with its community to rally additional contributions. Despite raising over $700, he isn’t yet satisfied and intends to ramp up another promotion in the near future.

“We’re going to run it back next month,” Cox says.

Efforts from individuals and small businesses like this are critical in the fight for a cure for DIPG. Jason Carr, foundation co-founder, emphasized the impact every dollar can have toward this race.

“Every effort matters for our mission,” Carr says. “We continue to be amazed by others who choose to help us raise even more funds for pediatric brain cancer research. Joe’s efforts just funded another day of research focused on finding a cure for DIPG. We are incredibly grateful and honored he chose to support ChadTough.”

For more information about Cox’s next fundraising promotion, go to