‘Li­ly­palooza’ to ben­e­fit girl, 6, with cancer.

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Katie Kohler For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

A 6-year-old Red Hill girl bat­tling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lym­phoma will be the princess of a party in her honor Sun­day at St. Michael’s pic­nic grounds in Mont Clare.

The A-Team, a non­profit char­ity headed by C.J. San­tan­gelo, will host “Li­ly­palooza” to help raise funds for Lilyanna “Lily” Pag­notta and her fam­ily.

“Af­ter meet­ing her, I don’t think she un­der­stands the mag­ni­tude of what she is up against, but we do,” San­tan­gelo said. “Her in­no­cence comes out … her spirit and her char­ac­ter. She is ex­cited about hav­ing this party. She thinks it’s a cel­e­bra­tion of her be­ing done chemo.”

Rocky Pag­notta, Lily’s fa­ther, works at Jay­dor in Nor­ris­town with War­ren Birch, one of the A-Team’s cap­tains. De­spite Birch’s heavy in­volve­ment with the A-Team, he had never asked for any­thing in re­turn be­fore he sheep­ishly ap­proached San­tan­gelo about the Pag­not­tas.

“I al­ways have an ear for those who have been in­volved that have some­one we may be able to help,” San­tan­gelo said.

In the early sum­mer, when Birch ap­proached him, San­tan­gelo’s wife had re­cently beaten breast cancer, and the A-Team had just fin­ished a ben­e­fit for prostate cancer. How­ever, San­tan­gelo did see a small win­dow dur­ing which an event for Lily was fea­si­ble, de­spite the dif­fi­culty of sum­mer sched­ul­ing.

The sub­ject of cancer is per­sonal to San­tan­gelo in many ways. His fa­ther died of thy­roid cancer within a year of his di­ag­no­sis.

“He told me not to give up the war. This is just one bat­tle. I like to feel that this keeps his mem­ory alive,” San­tan­gelo said.

Through the many events the A-Team has hosted and his in­volve­ment with var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions, San­tan­glo has seen the bur­den child­hood cancer puts on a fam­ily both fi­nan­cially and emo­tion­ally.

In Jan­uary, Lily woke up with a lump on her neck, and in May was di­ag­nosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lym­phoma. She is a big sis­ter to Ema­lyn, 4, and Do­minic, 20 month­sold. Lily en­joys arts, crafts, but­ter­flies, princesses, and col­or­ing.

“This whole ex­pe­ri­ence and meet­ing with the A-Team has opened my eyes,” Rocky Pag­notta said. “It’s awe-in­spir­ing and pretty mov­ing to see how it all came to­gether and the groundswell of sup­port. It’s been hum­bling and in­spir­ing.”

Li­ly­pal­looza will be catered by Bridge­port Rib House and fea­ture three moon bounces, face-paint­ing, bal­loon char­ac­ters, bas­ket raf­fles, real life princesses, live bands, Club Lilly Lu, a DJ, bub­bles and a fire­works clos­ing.

For tick­ets or to make a do­na­tion visit www. herewe­come.org, or checks may be made payable to The A-Team of Skip­pack 111 (in care of Lily) and mailed to The A-Team, 104 G.P. Clement Drive, Collegeville, PA 19426.

KATIE KOHLER— FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Lily Pag­notta, 6, poses for a photo with War­ren Birch, left, and C.J. San­tan­gelo, both of the A-Team, a non­profit that will host “Li­ly­palooza” Sun­day, Aug. 27, 2017at St. Michael’s pic­nic grounds, Mont Clare. Lily was di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin’s lym­phoma in May, and pro­ceeds of the event will ben­e­fit her fam­ily.

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