Basketball teams hold charity game for boy battling rare disorder

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HOWARD CITY, Mich.-- Two high school basketball teams came together Monday night to support two-year-old Crew Berens, who was born with a neurological disease called neurofibromatosis, or NF1.

Both teams say that his fight is their fight.

The Tri County and Newaygo High School match up is a pretty big rivalry game, but both teams united for the common cause of helping out Crew and his family. The boy's mom is from Newaygo and his grandmother teaches at Tri County High School, so they thought this would be a great way to have a fundraiser for him.

NF1 causes benign tumors to grow in Crew Berens' body.

The stands were packed Monday night at Tri County High School. Both the boys and girls varsity teams took to the hardwood for the match-up.

"We're kind of rivals with Newaygo, so I thought it was kind of cool that we got to come together and play for little Crew, and we got to unite," said senior Jenna DeGeer. "It was pretty fun."

The rivals came together with a goal of raising $1,000 for the Berens family as they continue to cope with a genetic disorder that has no known cure.

"His mom went to school in Newaygo and his grandma teaches in Tri County so it was just really cool to play in this game and bring awareness to the disease," said junior Emma Overbeek.

"It's very exciting to see this community come out and back up this guy and his family," said organizer Mary Overbeek.

The teams exceeded their goal of raising more than $1,000 through ticket, t-shirt and concession sales. Both teams were impressed to see such a high turnout for a Monday night game. "especially on a Monday night with two communities coming together. It's really fun," said DeGeer.

Crew lit up the gym and gave both teams motivation.

"I think it motivates us more," said Overbeek. "We were kind of behind at half-time, and I think it really gives us some more motivation."

"His battle is our battle, so if he's going to fight, we're going to be right there with him," said DeGeer.

There's going to be another fundraiser for Crew and his family on Friday, Feb. 17, when both teams meet again.

You can also stay up to date with how Crew is going by heading to his Facebook page.

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