Well, it took us a few weeks and a few tears to review all of our entries for an EPIC Vacation and we are thrilled to announce our recipient: The Demetrakis Family!
Our greatest takeaway, thanks to all of the wonderful people who took the time to nominate truly deserving people, is that we need to do a lot more of this! We're so blessed to live and work in the Outer Banks and bringing a little bit of our sunshine into the lives of those who could use a break makes us all so happy! So read on and learn a little about The Demetrakis Family. Or, if you're so inclined, listen to Kristie McWilliams' EPIC nomination letter for her sister, read by Kristie herself.
The Demetrakis Family is a lot like many families we all know: Dad Mike, Mom Kasey, and rambunctious sons Dominic (8), Parker (5) and Bennett (4). With 3 active boys, you can imagine that Kasey and Michael's days are a whirlwind of work (Kasey is a chef and Michael is a police dispatcher), school drop-offs and pick-ups, games, practices, homework, meal prep . . . the list goes on.
But the Demetrakis' have had two years of curveballs that would test anyone's spirit. From 2021 - 2022, Kasey lost both of her grandmothers, one of whom had helped to raise her and her sister, and Michael lost both of his parents.
As Kasey's sister (and nominator) Kristie tells us, "Michael and his mom had a special bond and our beloved Grannie Betty was a second mom and our family matriarch. These losses upon losses really shook our small family."
Then, on July 20, while dancing in the kitchen cooking dinner with Mike, Kasey found a rock-hard lump in her left breast - golf ball in size and painful to the touch. Fast forward 7 weeks to the beginning of September. Kasey has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Triple Negative Metastatic Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma Grade 3. The cancer had metastasized to her lungs and lymph nodes. Kasey was originally given 2 years to live, but due to her cancer being so aggressive, doctors changed her timeline to less than a year.
Kasey has a very strong spirit and is a fighter! She is determined to beat this cancer, but knows the odds are against her. This hasn’t changed her outlook, though, as she fights everyday for those 3 boys.
Kasey has begun her "cancer journey" with frequent doctors’ visits, testing and treatments. She lost her job just before Christmas, in fact, due to the terrible side effects she is experiencing. Mike also misses a lot of work - traveling to and from Kasey’s appointments, all while taking care of their 3 boys, the house, the lawn, the daily chores, and cooking all meals while juggling coaching football and maintaining as much normalcy for the boys as possible. All Mike's time away from work is unpaid.
The bills are already starting to mount up and the financial stress on the family is overwhelming as well. As you can imagine, between medical expenses, keeping a roof over their heads, and nourishment their 3 boys, there is no extra money to provide a break from the day to day worries that have consumed their lives.
Kristie adds more to round out the picture:
"Kasey is a mom to 3 beautiful crazy boys, the best auntie to my son, a friend to everyone she meets, the youngest daughter to my parents, a loving wife, my baby sister and a talented chef. We are beside ourselves and trying to wrap our head around all of this. With everything Mike and Kasey are dealing with and with all the loss they have endued, they are so deserving of a week of peace at the beach; listening to the waves crash into the sand, building sandcastles, searching for sharks’ teeth and shells. They truly need a break from their daily reality that would give their children memories for years to come. With the little time Kasey has left on this earth, it would be beyond memorable and a true blessing."
We are so grateful to all of our local businesses and friends who stepped up to make this respite possible. We're equally appreciative to all those who took the time to nominate a friend or family member. We have a fun-filled week all arranged for the Demetrakis's and we intend this tradition to continue for years to come.
Be EPIC With Us!
Interested in joining us in Emitting Positive Impact Collectively?
Our EPIC Project is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and we'd love your support! Or if you are a local business that would like to contribute something to the Demetrakis's week in OBX please contact Denise Khouri at email@example.com