Raptor DeMarre Carroll's hoops camp aims to inspire, improve kids' health

CBC's Dwight Drummond met up with the Raptors player at his Next Level Basketball Camp in Mississauga, where kids had the chance to improve their game while helping fight liver disease.

Week-long training camp in Mississauga raises money for kids with liver disease

Toronto Raptor DeMarre Carroll's foundation raises money for the fight against Paediatric Liver disease, which he suffers from. Carroll held a kids basketball camp to support the cause in Mississauga. 3:04

DeMarre Carroll is a role model for young basketball fans all over the Greater Toronto Area, and with his annual camp making its Canadian debut, some of them were lucky enough to learn from the Raptor himself.

Carroll's Next Level Basketball Camp is a week-long mentorship camp that sees kids between the ages of eight and 13 receive hands-on training from Carroll and a professional coaching staff. This past week it took over the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.

"When I was young like them, I really didn't have … any NBA player come in and I always wished that, so that's what I'm trying to do now, come back and give these kids a sense of inspiration to go out and be who they can be," Carroll said in an interview with CBC's Dwight Drummond on Thursday.

However, teaching young aspiring basketball stars isn't the only reason he hosts the camps. The funds raised go toward a cause he knows all too well.

"When I was in college, my junior year, that's when I got diagnosed with liver disease," he said. "That scare kind of opened my eyes and made me realize that I need to be an advocate for that disease."

The money will go to the Carroll Family Foundation, a charity he founded to raise awareness and funds for preventing, diagnosing and treating adolescents who suffer from liver diseases or disorders.

"I just try to get out and teach people and show people that by having a healthy living style, working out, doing the little things, you can help all of your organs," he said.

Keeping healthy is something Carroll said he's really focusing on this summer after playing last season with "nagging" injuries. He told Drummond that he's been rehabbing and working hard to get into top shape for the fans when it's time for him to hit the court.

"You can't beat these fans," he said. "You might have a bad game, but they're still going to cheer you on, they're still going to be there to support you."