12 Making a Difference: Matt DiStefano

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Sachem High School North teacher and coach Matt "Dezy" DiStefano used his fighting spirit to create the Dezy Strong Foundation - after he was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer.

DiStefano says doctors told him of his diagnosis in February 2018. He decided to take that time to try to touch the lives of people by giving presentations at high schools and colleges on having a positive mindset and what the foundation is about.

The Dezy Strong Foundation is a nonprofit that helps families impacted by cancer stay positive. DiStefano spoke across Long Island, and even got assistance from the New York Islanders to spread the Dezy Strong message.

MORE: Sachem North teacher, coach dies following battle with kidney cancer
Sachem North High School holds vigil for beloved coach who lost battle to cancer 

DiStefano says he received his cancer diagnosis at 4:45 p.m., so every day at that time he would find something to be grateful for and encouraged the community to do the same.

He says he was happy to wake up every day, kiss his wife, see his children and hopefully have an impact on someone.

DiStefano passed on Jan. 27, 2020 following his battle with cancer. He was 42 years old.

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