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Hundreds honor girl with cancer on her birthday

Tissue-paper confetti filled the sky. Silly string was sprayed. Bubbles were blown. Horns honked.

It was a picture-perfect day as hundreds of cars, many decked out with tropical decorations, colorful balloons spilling out of their windows and signs covering their doors, passed slowly by a home on Avenue I on June 18 as Boulder City residents came out in full force to wish one girl a happy 11th birthday.

The parade, which lasted well over an hour, was held in honor of Emilee Giamanco, who is battling an aggressive brain cancer.

As they passed by, people dropped off bouquets of flowers and balloons, stuffed animals, gift-filled baskets and bags, cards and cash.

In addition to the many Boulder City residents, special guests at the celebration included Chance, the Golden Knights mascot, accompanied by several members of Vegas Vivas cheerleader squad; Spruce, the Las Vegas Aviators mascot; and Cinderella. She arrived, not in a golden carriage that was once a pumpkin, but in a black stretch limousine and bearing a small pink box that contained an all-expense-paid trip to Disneyland from United Nissan. Cinderella also serenaded Emilee, wishing her a happy birthday.

“This is amazing,” said Emilee, who waved to all who passed by.

Emilee’s mom, Marissa Giamanco, said the parade was originally intended to be a small gathering with family and close friends.

But once word of the party got out, “the rest is history,” she said.

Marissa Giamanco said among those invited was Cheri Emerich, who works at King Elementary School where Emilee was a student. She let Mike Pacini know about the celebration and he jumped on board and put plans into place to throw a party of a lifetime.

“She just inspires me,” Pacini said about Emilee.

After meeting with Emilee and her parents, he said he felt he needed to do something to help out.

“No little girl should have to do that,” he said of her illness and treatment.

He first became acquainted with the Giamanco family while working with Emilee’s aunt, Lori Tesch, at Lake Mead Cruises.

In addition to organizing and DJing the parade, Pacini started a Go Fund Me account to raise money to send the family to Emilee’s favorite place: Disneyland. He set a goal of $10,000 and as of Monday afternoon, had raised more than $11,200.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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