PITTSBURG — Children swarmed around the bounce house, petting zoo, balloon artist and face painter on Sunday for a special celebration, Lylahpalooza.
Lylahpalooza is organized by Leslie and B.J. Harris whose daughter, Delylah, passed away in 2013 from a heart defect complication. Leslie Harris said it was their community who surrounded them and helped them get through rough times, and so Lylahpalooza has continued for six years to help families of critically ill children.
This year, the event sponsored Jacob Murray who recently won his battle with Leukemia after enduring six rounds of chemotherapy and Jackson Davis Williams who is currently battling Alper’s-Huttenlocher disease which is a genetic condition affecting the mitochondria in his cells, it can cause many problems including seizures, developmental regression, very low muscle tone, visual impairment, hearing loss, swallowing problems, slowing of the GI tract and liver failure.
“It has been an eye opener for us as a family to see this many people in the world that love so much,” Adam Murray, Jacob’s father said.
Jacob came to the event with his big brother Gauge and his parents. He chased around bubbles and hung out with his dad.
Jackson was not feeling well enough to come to the party, however, his grandparents Kathy and Merle Clark, of Pittsburg, came on his behalf.
“It’s amazing, what a glorious tribute to Delylah,” Kathy Clark said. “Pittsburg people always have stepped up and done so much for others.”
His grandparents said it is heartwarming to hear all of the thoughts and prayers from the community.
Although Jackson is not feeling well, his grandparents said he goes through every day full of smiles and lights up when his brothers are around.
On Sunday, over 120 children came to the event and every auction item was bid on.
Leslie Harris said they are pleased with the turnout and enjoyed the venue at the Crawford County Historical Museum.
She said the silent auction, T-shirts and entry fees provided thousands of dollars for the Murray and Williams families.
“We were really pleased by the support of the community,” Harris said. “It was a perfect day, we couldn’t ask for better weather.
“Overall we’re really happy.”
People who could not go to the event but still wish to help can visit the Facebook page “Love for Lylah” to make a monetary donation or purchase a “Love for Lylah” T-shirt for $20.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.