Dublin Villager

July 4 fundraiser

For Drings, fight against Crohn's is personal

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The Drings are taking on Crohn's.

The Dublin family has been doing fundraising for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and has taken on an Independence Day event to raise money and awareness.

Drings Fight Crohn's was started in February. Its July 4 Firecracker Classic will involve a passion of 11-year-old Tyler, who was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease last year.

"The tournament for us was a no-brainer," Jenn Dring said."

"The kids are extremely active in sports," she said. "Tyler's passion is all things sports. ...

"It's a good way to reach out to kids, have fun and a fundraiser and let people know what Crohn's is."

Dring, who also works as executive director of the Dublin Foundation, said Crohn's disease runs in the family.

She has ulcerative colitis, another inflammatory bowel disease that focuses on the large intestine, or colon, that causes inflammation and ulcers.

Surgery generally cleared up the disease.

"For the most part, I have to be careful of what I eat ... . For the most part, I am cured," Dring said.

"The unfortunate part is I can get Crohn's. So far, that hasn't happened. I hope my ordeal is over and we can focus on Tyler."

Tyler, a Scottish Corners Elementary School student, was diagnosed with Crohn's last year and the disease has had an impact on his growth.

"It's very difficult to live with as an adult and as a child, it's even harder," Dring said.

"There are lots of bellyaches and all kinds of digestive problems. It's really impacted growth. He's had a really hard time gaining weight."

Knowing Tyler will have to deal with Crohn's for the rest of his life, the Dring family has focused on giving him a way to fight back.

"We really wanted to teach Tyler and his brother and sister that this is nothing to be embarrassed about and when something happens, you should fight and not be resigned to letting life happen to you," Dring said.

Medicine can deal with symptoms of Crohn's, but Tyler has yet to find a good fit, Dring said.

"Crohn's is just trying medicine after medicine to see what works for symptoms," she said. "There is no cure. There's a lot of medicines and that's very scary.

"There will be repercussions down the line with something else. We try to do what we can do his diet. His biggest symptom is lack of growth."

Crohn's hasn't kept Tyler from enjoying sports and sharing a passion for basketball with his father, Scott, executive director of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The love of basketball morphed into the Firecracker Classic, a youth basketball tournament slated for 1-4 p.m. July 4 on the Avery Park basketball courts.

The tournament will have a bracket for fourth- and fifth-graders and another for sixth- and seventh-graders.

Only three members of each team can be on the court at one time, but teams can have up to five members.

"We have two boys that both play basketball and have a lot of friends who play basketball," Mrs. Dring said. "We already have a good response."

The community has helped since Drings Fight Crohn's began.

"We had a fundraiser at CeeCee's and 250 people showed up to eat pizza for us," Mrs. Dring said.

"We want (the basketball fundraiser) to be an event for kids and our families. It's another way to add Fourth of July festivities."

Each bracket will accept eight teams; the registration fee is $60 per team. A three-point contest will also be held at the end of the tournament at a cost of $5 per entry.

To register, email DringsFightCrohns@gmail.com with team name, age bracket, names of players and contact information.

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