"Lilypalooza" to help 11 children battling cancer

Hundreds of people came out to the 6th Annual Lilypalooza in Murrells Inlet. Organizers say there is record turnout this year. (Taggart Houck/WPDE) 

For the sixth straight year, cancer patients and their families will get some financial help from a local festival in Murrells Inlet.

Hundreds of people came out to the Beaver Bar Sunday in Murrells Inlet for some food, games, and an auction -- with proceeds benefiting children battling cancer.

"No parent ever expects to hear those words, 'your child has cancer,'" said Jennifer Johnson, the organizer of this year's Lilypalooza.

She never thought she would either, until it did in December 2011. That's when her daughter, Lily, whom she named the event after, learned she had Leukemia.

As a single mother, she got support. And less than a year later -- she came up with the fundraiser. She said it's main purpose is to ease financial burden.

"We help the families with anything from gas cards to food cards, to cafeteria cards. We'll pay a car payment, a house payment," she said.

She said families traveling to back and forth to the hospital adds up financially. For some people, that isn't easy.

Sunday, Lily was at the festival. Now a seventh grader, she handed out snow cones with friends at the festival.

An auction of 150 items from guitars to coolers, to beauty products and shirts will help with medical expenses.

Brianna Pettit from Myrtle Beach has attended every Lilypalooza since the inaugural festival. Her son was diagnosed with liver cancer when he was just 15 months old.

When her son became a beneficiary from the event, traveling down to MUSC became a bit easier.

"It made you feel just so special that there's people out there that are fighting and that she does this," said Pettit.

Sunday, she said her son was almost five years cancer-free.

Then there's Madison Flynn from Myrtle Beach.

She's one of 11 benefiting this year. She's had a long battle with cancer.

She was first diagnosed with Osteosarcoma when she was 14 years old.

"I didn't get to experience high school that much," she said.

For a year, she said she spent just about every holiday in the hospital. Now 19 years old, she's still fighting, but this will help.

"It's really awesome. Because a lot of families do need help financially," said Flynn.

Johnson thought turnout was higher this year than it had been in previous years -- hoping of course, it will raise even more money for all 11 of this year's beneficiaries.

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