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Brookhaven residents raise money for baby born with rare skin disorder

Lily Roth was born with Congenital Melanocytic Nevi.

Lily Roth was born with Congenital Melanocytic Nevi. A fundraiser was held for her at The Eastport South Manor Sports Complex on Saturday, Sept. 20th, 2014. Credit: Veronique Louis

Eastern Brookhaven Town residents tried to hit as many home runs as they could Saturday, but they were going to bat for more than their egos.

Dozens of people -- Little League players, town employees, politicians and others -- faced off against a pitching machine to raise money for Lily Harper Roth, a baby with a rare skin disorder.

Roth was born at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson on March 19 with giant congenital melanocytic nevus -- causing patches of dark, brittle skin to cover her forehead and back.

Her parents -- John, 37, and Jessica, 31 -- lived in Center Moriches before they moved to Blythewood, South Carolina, on Aug. 16 with Lily and her 6-year-old brother, Brayden.

John Roth said his family will pay about $80,000 for a series of surgeries over three years to remove the nevi, which are sensitive and carry increased risk of skin cancer.

The Roths launched a fundraising campaign on July 6, and have so far raised $32,000 online, at events and by selling "Team Lily" T-shirts for $10 apiece.

"It just shows that we're blessed. It was such a scary moment when the baby was born and nobody knew" what was wrong, John Roth said.

Lily's condition occurs once in every 500,000 births, according to Nevus Outreach, an Oklahoma-based support group.

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico, whose son, Grant, was born an hour apart from Lily at St. Charles, helped organize the home run fundraiser at the newly completed Eastport South Manor Athletic Complex off Route 51.

It was $10 for a chance to hit as many homers as possible before racking up five strikes, fouls or non-homers. About 50 people stepped up to the plate and raised $2,000, including some extra donations.

"In my years as a councilman, this is one of the things I'm most proud about," said Panico, who donated $1,000. "We do a lot with the town, but this is making a difference in a baby's life."

Lily's first surgery to begin removing the growths is scheduled for Oct. 16 in Chicago.

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