By Joel Hillan

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– In April, 17 days after being diagnosed with a rare and deadly brain tumor, Luke Morin died at the age of 5 at Children’s Hospital Colorado. On Thursday, the community came together to present a check to a foundation doing research to find therapies to fight this deadly disease.

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It was clear from a young age that Luke was special young man.

“He just always lit up and was just a joy, always happy, I never saw him fight with his sister, such a happy, joyful kid,” said Elizabeth Meier who was runs The Goddard School, City Park West location, which Luke attended.

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This spring Luke was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. It grew at the base of his brain and took his life in just 17 days.

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“When I have to sit down with a family and this is the one tumor for which I can’t give them even a little hope, it is very frustrating,” said Dr. Rajeev Vibhaker, Associate Professor of the CU School of Medicine.

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In November, the community came together to raise money for DIPG research

“In our wildest dreams we probably anticipated 500 people and there were over a thousand,” said Luke’s mom Jill Morin.

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“We had no idea it would come out to this much money, in a first-year event where we didn’t know what we were doing,” said Meier.

They raised more than $32,000.

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“It feels really good and this is only the beginning,” said Morin.

“This kind of money really helps us to start to do the kind of studies we need to do to do those high-risk studies that only philanthropy will support,” said Dr. Vibhaker.

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Jill Morin hopes this cause will one day become its own foundation, with its own endowment, honoring Luke.

“We’re going to make sure that his name outlives us, that his name goes on forever and will be associated with finding better treatment and a cure for DIPG,” she said adding, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart from the top of my heart, from every single corner of my heart for supporting us and please spread the word about this horrible disease.”

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Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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