At Stateline Karts racetrack in Busti, NY hundreds of people gathered for a memorial race, honoring a local child.

Cooper Groves, of Sugar Grove, PA was just 17 years old when he passed away last year from mitochondrial disease.

Tonight, his family, representing five generations of racers, honored him by doing something he loved: go-kart racing.

One hundred and eighty- five racers came out to Stateline Karts racetrack in honor of Cooper Groves.

 “I’m supporting the Grove family, and I’m going to race for the money,” stated Cameron, an eight-year-old go kart driver.

The race was sponsored by numerous organizations, all supporting “Smiles by Cooper” a grassroots effort started by the Groves family to spread kindness in memory of Coopers contagious smile.

“It’s just amazing that we had this many racers, with the questionable weather show up," stated Jay Groves, Cooper's father. "I’ve never seen this place like this."

"I came out for the big race," stated Tammy Nelson, Warren County resident. "My grandson traveled from Ohio for the race, so it's exciting and it's all for a great cause, for Cooper."

“It just makes me happy that everyone is here to celebrate him,” said Bexley Smith, go kart driver and Cooper’s cousin.
“Everyone has been super supportive," stated Jobie Groves, Cooper's mother. "There are 185 racers here today, I don't think we've ever seen that many here, and it’s all just to support Cooper.”

The event was full of laughter and memories, continuing the Groves family’s mission to remember Cooper and his wonderful smile.

The Groves family plan to continue their grassroots effort to bring smiles to people's faces, in Coopers memory, one random act of kindness at a time.

For more information about Smiles by Cooper, visit here.