'Beautiful soul': Beloved Aquebogue teacher loses battle with stage 4 breast cancer

The Aquebogue and Riverhead communities are mourning the loss of a beloved teacher who lost her battle with stage 4 breast cancer.
Laura Stimpfel says she is heartbroken over the loss of her friend Keri Stromski. The 44-year-old was a kindergarten teacher, mother of three and an outspoken advocate for people with stage 4 cancer. Stromski was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in November 2016.
"She had a beautiful soul that always welcomed you in," says Stimpfel. "She was all about her family, all about her tow. She loved the kids. Everything she did was for kids and mostly for our kids."
Last month, 5-year-old Avery Green, one of her students at Aquebogue Elementary School, worked with his parents to build a hugging machine. The device helped allow Stromski to hug him and other students safely.
People also gathered last weekend for a parade to support Stromski. The parade ended in front of the school where she taught, and donations were collected to help pay for her medical costs.
Stromski's sister Jill sent a statement to News 12 saying, "My sister Keri was an awe-inspiring wife, mother, daughter sister and friend. Keri navigated her diagnosis with a power and grace that touched the lives of so many people and that grace will live on every day."
Many people who knew her says she was a true fighter who fought for everyone while fighting for herself.
Riverhead Interim Superintendent of Schools Christine Tona released a statement saying, "I am saddened by the news of Keri Stromski's passing. She was incredibly dedicated to her family, her students, the Riverhead Central School District, and the Riverhead community and will be greatly missed. We can all learn from Keri's example of strength during the most difficult of circumstances."