PITTSBURG — Lylahpalooza brought fun, games and laughter to local children Sunday, but impacted three local families and their children even more.
Lylahpalooza brought bounce houses, face painting and much more to the Pritchett Pavilion. The event charged $5 per child and had a silent auction. Money earned at Lylahpalooza benefits local families whose children are suffering from severe, ongoing illnesses.
“It was very comparable to the previous year financially,” Leslie Harris said. “And we were really impressed with all the people who showed up to support local families and keep our daughter’s memory alive.”
The event was originally organized in 2012 by friends and family of Leslie and B.J. Harris, whose daughter, Delylah Adele Harris, was born with a congenital heart defect known as “Tetralogy of Fallot” with a missing pulmonary valve caused by DiGeorge Syndrome.
Her illness caused her to spend the majority of her time at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, where she endured two open heart surgeries, a g-tube, tracheostomy and ventilator support.
This uphill battle was not only taxing on the Harris’ daughter and their family, but their finances as well.
Harris said some parents have to give up their career to care for their child, like she had to, which could cause financial issues going from two incomes to one.
“The first two years were for us, which is why we continued it on,” Leslie Harris said. “The community, our friends and our family was great to us, but not everyone has that support, so we wanted to be that support for other people.”
This year’s proceeds will help three local children, including a premature baby on a ventilator at Children’s Mercy — also named Lyla — a little boy awaiting a kidney transplant and another boy that has an incurable brain tumor.
Leslie Harris said any money left over will be used for smaller help, such as buying a family gas for hospital visits or paying for items like diapers and formula.
Even though Lylahpalooza has come and gone for this year, people still interested in helping out can purchase t-shirts or make monetary donations. To purchase a shirt or make a donation, send a message to the Love for Lylah Facebook page.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.