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LIers honor family members in fight against cancer

Anthony Di Caro and his sister Daniela, middle,

Anthony Di Caro and his sister Daniela, middle, and Becky Broxmeyer lost family members to pancreatic cancer. Credit: Uli Seit

Their grandmother liked lemonade, but that wasn't the reason Daniela Di Caro, 19, her brother Anthony, 17, and their three younger siblings decided to honor her memory by running a lemonade stand to help raise funds for The Lustgarten Foundation.

"About two years ago a woman came to our lemonade stand," Daniela Di Caro recalled. "She didn't want any lemonade, but she gave us a donation of $25 and said she thought it was really great what we were doing, and that she was a pancreatic cancer survivor."

The Port Washington siblings lost their grandmother, Rose Pugliese, to the disease in September 1998.

Besides running the lemonade stand and holding a garage sale, both started in 2007, and participating in The Lustgarten Foundation Long Island Walk with their family, Di Caro and her brother contribute to the foundation's mission by appearing in its curePC Public Service Announcement campaign, "Real Kids Fighting Pancreatic Cancer." They are featured with Becky Broxmeyer, 19, of Laurel Hollow.

The Di Caro siblings also volunteer at the walks by distributing T-shirts to participants. "It seems like a simple thing to hand out T-shirts, but without the volunteers there wouldn't be a Foundation and there wouldn't be a walk," said Di Caro, a sophomore at Cornell University. "It's also great to know that every single dollar people give to the Foundation goes right to research."

Her brother, a senior at Paul D. Schreiber High School, said, "Raising awareness for this disease is critical. Not many people know how deadly it is."

Besides appearing in the curePC PSA, Broxmeyer, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has volunteered at the Lustgarten office in Bethpage, cataloging auction and raffle prizes. She also raised $150,000 for the foundation from a fashion show she organized with friends. Her father, former Long Island real estate entrepreneur Mark Broxmeyer, died of pancreatic cancer in May 2010; he was 61.

As the youngest of five children, Broxmeyer said she supports the foundation's mission "because I don't want anyone to go through what my family went through. It's a way for me to continue to honor my father."

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