WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Wyoming and Grandville’s baseball and softball teams met at Pinery Park as part of the eighth annual Paganelli Play for Melanoma Awareness event Friday night.
The event honors the late Christy Paganelli, who died in 2011 following a two-year battle with cancer. Her son, Jake, is a senior with the Bulldogs baseball team.
Jake’s father, Dino, is the organizer of the event.
“Our biggest goal is to create melanoma awareness and skin cancer awareness,” Dino said. “One out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the age of 70.”
On this night, players and coaches from each team wear special jerseys. Each player picks someone they know who has been afflicted with cancer and plays this game in their honor. The names of the honorees are on the back of each respective jersey.
“If you have up to five sunburns, you’ve increased your chances of melanoma by 50 percent,” Dino said.
He stressed the fastest growing part of the population to be affected by skin cancer is men.
“I think that goes to our ignorance as men,” Dino said. “We are not applying ourselves the knowledge to prevent skin exposure.”
Proceeds from the event help fund a scholarship for one local student, as well as contribute to medical research surrounding cancer.
“That was Christy’s message,” Dino said. “She wanted to bring awareness, and that’s the idea and goal of our Play for Melanoma organization.”