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“Difficult diagnosis:” Driveway basketball fundraiser raises money to fight juvenile Type 1 diabetes

MILWAUKEE -- Playing basketball in the driveway with some friends seems simple enough, but it hasn't always been easy for nine-year-old George Dorrington.

"We're usually out playing basketball every Saturday," Dorrington said.

When he has his basketball in his hands, his sweat bands on and his jersey just right, Dorrington is happy as can be.

Cracked Sidewalks for a Cure

George Dorrington

"George loves hoops. He loves Marquette hoops. He just loves being a nine-year-old kid," Brian Dorrington, George's father said.

"We're a sports family. We love sports. We love watching our kids excel and have fun and be part of a team," Katie Dorrington, George's mother said.

On a recent Saturday, everyone at his Wauwatosa home was part of his team.

"We're all playing for George today," Brian Dorrington said.

George, Brian and Katie Dorrington

George's parents are his biggest fans. On this day, they wore their team shirt, with "I'm playing 4 George" over their hearts.

"He touches our hearts every day. He inspires us every day," Brian Dorrington said.

"That's what it's all about. That's why we do it -- so that he can stay healthy and keep doing all the stuff that he loves," Katie Dorrington said.

It hasn't always been easy for George and his family.

"To be able to see him flourishing when only a few years back, it was very difficult days right after the diagnosis, that means everything to us," Brian Dorrington said.

At the age of five, George was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, forever changing his life.

"We found that out very early, when George was diagnosed, that it was going to affect all of us. We all needed to know about it, not only our immediate family, but our extended family has been huge helps to us and they all have learned about it too," Katie Dorrington said.

George Dorrington

Four years later, after tens of thousands of finger pricks and countless shots, George Dorrington has a new glucose monitor he wears on his arm, and his daily life has dramatically improved.

"You just kind of feel like a normal kid again," George Dorrington said.

Cracked Sidewalks for a Cure

The finger pricks are down to less than a handful per day, and the shots are getting easier to handle with the new device.

"I don't have to do any of the other stuff anymore that I used to have to do. I used to have to give myself shots. It's better now," George Dorrington said.

"It's the most important thing. The first thing he said when he got it was he could start eating with his friends right away at lunch. He didn't have to poke his finger first to get a blood draw to find out what his blood glucose is. He can just look at his monitor and see," Katie Dorrington said.

That gave him the opportunity to go one-on-one against Phil Dolan, a current pro and former player on UCONN's last national championship team.

George Dorrington and Phil Dolan

"It was a great experience for me. It was hot. I was sweating," George Dorrington said.

Yet he was cool enough to hit a big jumper in front of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 200.

"I was just happy I made one basket. I was surprised I even made one basket.  It just felt like I was playing in the big leagues. It was great just watching everyone cheering for me. It was good," George Dorrington said.

Cracked Sidewalks for a Cure

Cracked Sidewalks for a Cure

A unique fundraiser created by Brian and Katie Dorrington brought out the fans.

"We transformed our driveway into a basketball arena, and we did so, really, to raise money for juvenile diabetes.  This was just a great way for us to turn what was a real difficult diagnosis into something that's more hopeful -- and to putting our energy towards a cure," Brian Dorrington said.

"The reason we did it was to partly support George and JDRF. But it was partly to thank our community and our family and our friends and all the people, our neighbors, everybody that has supported us the last four years since George's diagnosis," Katie Dorrington said.

Cracked Sidewalks for a Cure

The effort had the community giving back for the second straight year.

"We started a driveway basketball fundraiser last year. We had a modest goal of $2,000. We raised about $6,400. Today we're going to surpass $10,000. It means the world to us," Brian Dorrington said.

While George was the inspiration for the event, he has inspired by helping other kids who are in his position.

"I just want them to know that I'm praying for them too, every night," George Dorrington said.

The money raised from this event will benefit JDRF, in hopes of finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes. CLICK HERE to learn more.