Life can be full of unexpected hardship, but it shouldn’t have to be faced alone. For Danielle Detoli, help is coming from an unexpected place, her son Aidan’s football team.
“Danielle’s been giving all these years,” says Head Coach and President of Hanover Township Youth Football and Cheer Vinnie Laracca. “She became our team photographer, always baked for the kids. After the game the boys would always run over to her.”
Laracca has known Detoli since her son joined football in kindergarten. In Hanover a coach starts with a team and then moves up with them starting in kindergarten and staying with them through eighth grade.
“There are just 19 players on the team so we are all pretty close,” says Laracca. “It’s like having 19 sons, and I only have one, so it’s great.”
It was only natural then that the coach and players would want to show support for a fellow team member and his family. When Detoli told Laracca that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his thoughts quickly turned to ways in which he and the team could show their support.
He started a team Go-Fund-Me page with the initial goal of raising $15,000 to benefit Detoli. In less than one month, they have surpassed their goal but also recognize that additional help is needed as she begins to fight this horrible disease.
As a single mom she carries the burden of providing for her and her son, and the team wants to help shoulder that for her so she can focus on getting well. This is all new for her as he received this diagnosis less than two months ago.
According to the page, “All of the contributions and money raised will be donated directly to Dani Detoli and her family in an effort to help her with any medical expenses and other expenses to make her life a bit easier during the process.”
“We want to put a little ease into the situation, make it a little easier for her,” said Laracca.
The monies currently collected will be given to Detoli this month, but ongoing fundraising is already in the works. The team is organizing the sale of bracelets which will be available later this month at Whippany Chiropractic, the practice of Dr. Mark A. Brzozowski, during office hours. Brzozowski’s son plays on the team with Aidan, and the doctor was glad to provide a place for people to come and purchase bracelets to show their support.
Other local organizations and business have sent in checks to Laracca or directly to Detoli, so the total listed on the Go-Fund-Me page only reflects donations made through that website.
In the spring the team plans on holding a large fundraiser and inviting everyone in the Hanover Township Youth Football and Cheer Program.
Laracca remembers how last October Detoli donated pink shoe laces for the team to wear to show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“All the boys wore them. She had no idea that she would be dealing with cancer herself.”
Donations can be made online at https://www.gofundme.com/7ygtzu24.