HUGHESTOWN — Team Ultra Violet was at it again, raising money for a little girl from Pittston who is defying all odds.
It was a special day for Violet Pantucci when the community came out to show support for the 6-year old who was diagnosed with lissencephaly, a rare brain disorder that leaves the brain’s surface smooth rather than the normal folds and grooves.
Team Ultra Violet (TUV) teamed up with the Hughestown Hose Co. to hold a carnival at the fire company hall and grounds to raise money for Violet to help defray medical costs as well as raise money for a service dog that will sense seizures before they happen. Violet is prone to seizures where she often needs life-saving medicine to keep her alive.
Joe Kelly, a firefighter for the City of Pittston, has been on board with TUV for many years and is no stranger to the Pantucci family. He’s been involved in raising money for Violet for several years.
“It’s one of those things where Violet has a rare disorder and things are so difficult for this family and fundraisers are difficult, but you have to do whatever you can to help them,” Kelly said. “Our goal is to, with the help of God, get them a service dog and a (handicapped) van.”
The service dog needed to detect seizures will be purchased in the near future. According to Elizabeth, a down payment has been made with the final payment due before the dog is shipped from out of state.
Elizabeth’s husband Ron gave up his vacation time to work to help pay for the dog; the rest of the money raised will contribute to the final purchase as well as help with the extensive training the dog will need to detect the life-threatening seizures Violet gets daily.
“We have money to cover the flight for the dog to be delivered to us,” Elizabeth said. “We are narrowing down the trainer for the dog.”
Kelly enlisted his friends Jamie Merlino and Bill Aruscavage, owners of One Source, a rescue equipment and supply company from Hughestown, to help with the fundraiser, along with friend Kim Menichini who helped with raffle baskets.
One Source has been a supporter of Violet over the years, especially in the case when she needed an AED (automated external defibrillator) to restart her heart. Source One stepped up and donated the much-needed piece of equipment.
The carnival featured a bounce house, donkeys, balloon artist, a dunk tank, food and raffles. Organizers touted the day as a success.
“We didn’t have a lot of people at once,” Violet’s mother Elizabeth said. “It was just a steady stream of people all day. We didn’t have five minutes to sit so many people came up to us; we couldn’t have been more happy.”
The Pantucci family wants to recognize One Source, Joe Kelly, Kim Menichini and members of the first responder community who helped make the carnival a success and a special day.
“The people at One Source and all the volunteers just stepped up; they are all wonderful people,” Elizabeth concluded.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org