By Andrea Lucia, CBS 11

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Cody Struck and Tre Vinson became friends in the first grade. “We were really good friends from the start,” said Cody. It didn’t seem to matter Tre was often sick.  But by second grade, cancer took over.

“I didn’t really know much about it, until the nurse explained it to me,” said Cody.

At the age of seven, Tre died from neuroblastoma.

“It was the worst feeling in the world, knowing that your best friend is gone,” Cody said. It was then he became determined to finish a project the two boys had started in class at Crandall Elementary School. “He made it his goal that year, to fill up a 5 gallon jug with change,” said Kaycee Struck, his mother. Cody filled that entire jug with donation for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The next year, he made it overflow.

He even put together a video with Tre’s story and played it a school assembly, inspiring classmates to raise money too.

“That year the school tripled the amount of money it had ever raised for this Pennies for Patients program,”  Struck said.

Now 12-years-old, Cody has started his own organization, Crandall Cares for Cancer, putting together fundraisers and charity golf tournaments. He also forged a bond with Tre’s two older brothers.

“I think anybody in the world of any age would be lucky to have a friend like Cody, just one friend like Cody in their lifetime,” said 16-year-old Kane Vinson.

Cody’s family says his organization has already raised more than $23,000 and he has a goal of raising another $12,000 this year.

“It makes you look at yourself and check your priorities and see what’s most important to you,” Struck said.

For Cody, there is just one priority: Putting a stop to the cancer that claimed his best friend.

“I’m hoping one day they find a cure for it – and nobody ever has to go through it again,” he said.

His next fundraiser will be a concert at 7:30 p.m. April 15 at the Crandall Cotton Gin Restaurant. Admission is $5 per person. His third annual Crandall Cares for Cancer golf tournament is April 30 at the Eastern Hills Country Club in Garland.

More details can be found at: Crandall Cares For Cancer