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7-year-old stroke survivor raises $15K for stroke research

April 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is a big honor for a special young boy. It's hard to believe, but a 7-year-old managed to raise a lot of money at a recent local fundraiser benefiting stroke survivors.

And he did it by word of mouth alone. The fundraiser's organizers presented him with an award during a surprise visit to his school.

It was supposed to be an awards assembly for students at St. Bede's Catholic Elementary, but the first recipient had no idea he was about to be honored.

With a look of surprise and pride Gavin Dinger accepted a special honor, an award from Glendale Adventist Hospital for his part in the Glendale News Press Downtown Dash. The Downtown Dash is a 5-K run that raises money for stroke victims and survivors. It's a cause that's close to his heart.

"He's so proud of this award and of being part of the Downtown Dash," said mother Heather Dinger.

The first grader is a stroke survivor himself. He was in his mother's womb when it happened and his parents didn't know.

"There was no way to prevent it," said Heather. "There was no way to predict it. And we didn't find out until after he was born."

But the stroke's effects haven't slowed down Gavin. Video on YouTube shows the little slugger running around the baseball diamond.

"He has come to realization that he can overcome this and he has made it his passion," said Glendale Adventist Medical Center Foundation President Dr. Abrahamian. "That's what I applaud."

Through word of mouth alone, at school and in his community, he and his parents raised $5,700 for stroke survivors this year alone. And they've raised $15,000 over the last four years.

"The special thing about Gavin is that he knows something is wrong with him," said father Rick Dinger. "Friends ask, and he's ok with that."

"The fact that he celebrates it, and celebrates it with his whole school is just beautiful," said Heather. "The little soul this boy has."

The Gavin Award will be given to an individual or team who raises the most money at future 5-K's.

"I'm just one of the guys in my class," said Gavin.