BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Demetri Demeropoulos, a Briarcliff Manor teenager, enjoyed making people laugh and playing sports before he died in 2010 after a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 18.
A 501C3 foundation With Demetri's Help, was formed to help raise money for cancer research. The group is holding a golf outing and fund-raiser at Trump National Hudson Valley in Hopewell Junction on May 27.
Demetri's friend Olivia Santiago is part of the foundation and said his family set it up to make a difference in the wake of a horrible tragedy.
"This rocked the town," Santiago said. "Everyone knew his family. The only funeral most of us had gone to were our grandparents. Now we're sitting there watching our best friend be buried."
Santiago said childhood cancer is the number one killer among children and pediatric and spinal chord research are underfunded.
"The chances of surviving are slim," Santiago.
The foundation is made up of volunteers and often does fund-raising in the summer, including hosting concerts at Lucy's in Pleasantville. Santiago hopes the golf outing is the chance to really make a difference.
"We want to take this foundation forward," Santiago said. "We want to try to use this event to really get ourselves out there so people know who we are, what our mission is and what we're doing."
Santiago said Demetri was liked by everyone for his hearty laugh and his constant smile.
"He was the leader of the pack," Santiago said. "There was no one else quite like him. He was a constant bright light. He never gave up. He was wise beyond his years."
Santiago said it was unbelievable how many people showed up at his funeral and wake.
"He touched so many lives," Santiago said. "When I'm having a bad day, I just think about him. He would've wanted us to keep fighting and do well."
For more information on With Demetri's Help, visit www.withdemetrishelp.com or contact 914-923-4793.