WYOMING, Mich. -- Friday night was the annual Christy Paganelli baseball and softball games as the Grandville teams took on Wyoming, to raise awareness for Melanoma.
“I felt the need for the younger generation to understand the prevention and that it is treatable if caught an early age," said teacher and father, Dino Paganelli. "We’ve tied in melanoma research and education. All the funds go to that as well as a scholarship that we offer for a student each year and Christy would have been proud of that. She was quite reserved and humble. I don’t know if she would have liked all the hype, but she definitely would have liked the message we’re providing.”
A message that is very dear to the Paganellis as they lost Christy in 2011 in skin cancer, leaving behind her children Brady, Jake and Katelyn, and her husband Dino.
A softball player herself at Wyoming Rogers in the 1980's and then at Aquinas College, the Paganellis felt this has been the perfect way to raise funds and bring light to the issue.
“Yeah it’s really cool, you know, that she played softball here," her son Brady, a senior at Grandville, smiled. "We kinda live in Wyoming and we choose to go to Grandville. But it’s cool to be a part of this event.”
"Yeah, Christy was a hall-of-famer at Aquinas and All American and just to tie it into athletics, which was so important with our family, and to see the boys excel and be able to represent and play for their mom in an event is really kind of neat," Dino added.
And this was the first year that Brady and Jake were able to play together in the varsity baseball game for Grandville. An experience, they won't soon forget.
“It’s honestly a cool experience. Last year was really humbling, but this year is kind of cool that get to play with my brother, so it’s honestly really humbling for me," Brady reiterated.
“It’s a mind blowing experience just to play with my brother and then play for my mom and my grandpa who’s just been diagnosed, but yeah it’s cool," Jake agreed.
“She would be really, really taken back," Dino said of everything they've been able to accomplish. "She would be proud of the kids no matter what they did, but to play together up the middle is really neat to see. She unfortunately has missed that.”
A good reminder for student athletes who are out in the sun playing sports, to always wear sunscreen.