NEW FRANKLIN, Ohio - It's a reality families all over the country face every single day — keeping the memory and name of their loved one alive.
Nolley Elementary students in Summit County have been tasked with that mission after their classmate died from cancer two days before this school year.
"Ollie was just not your everyday kid. He was truly an angel on Earth," teacher Shari Gardner said.
Oliver Demrovsky referred to as Ollie, gone far too soon.
"He made people feel better," teacher Jennifer Behrens said.
Demrovsky died August 20, 2017, after a fierce battle with a brain tumor.
During his nearly five year fight, teachers said he had grit. He acted like a normal kid.
"We said if you didn't know he had this, you would have never known. He never complained, he never said anything," Behrens said. "He always to be at school did everything he could to come to school. Even when he was in treatment and he’d be home, he would come in so he could eat lunch with his friends. Really, he was just a huge part of our school.”
Now Nolley Elementary is giving back.
"This is what our community does," Gardner said. "We all just come together when someone’s in need. We come together and that’s what our school is about and we just want to show them that love.”
Gardner, the school's Relay for Life coordinator, said Demrovsky was involved with Relay while he was alive, so when he passed it became her mission to raise more money than ever before.
"This year is a lot more emotional. It's very personal," she said.
So for the first time in 13 years, they're opening their Relay for Life to the public in an effort to raise more money for cancer research.
"Whatever we can do to help so that other families don't have to go through this," Behrens said.
While working to raise more money, teachers are also working to relay an important message to the students.
“It’s about a bigger picture. It’s about kindness and compassion. So that’s what we’re really trying to teach here," Gardner said.
Already, the students have raised thousands of dollars, but they hope Tuesday's Relay for Life event breaks their previous records.
"They’re proud of it. They love doing this. They love knowing that they’re helping other kids out there,” Behrens said.
If you'd like to donate to the Oliver Demrovsky Relay for Life, click here.
The event is being held on Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. at Nolley Elementary, 6285 Renninger Road.