Team 17 STRONG in the NEWS!

Team 17 STRONG in the NEWS!

Fundraiser to aid Berks Catholic football player diagnosed with brain tumor

The 17 STRONG event, for No. 17 Anthony Myers, will be held Nov. 17 at the Reading Public Museum.

West Reading, PA —

Team 17 STRONG is putting on an all-out blitz to raise awareness and support for Berks Catholic football player Anthony Myers, who was diagnosed with a stage 3 malignant brain tumor late last month.

Several fundraisers have been launched, including a 17 STRONG rally Nov. 17 at the Neag Planetarium at the Reading Public Museum from 7 to 10 p.m.

The planetarium was initially reserved for a Sweet 16 birthday party for Berks Catholic sophomore Lilly Derr, but she and her family opted to turn the event into a support mechanism for her classmate and friend.

"Everybody is pooling their resources to help in whatever way possible," said Jason Lutz, the parent of a Berks Catholic football player and one of the organizers of the Team 17 STRONG committee.

A website,, was launched Saturday. Information about Myers' story, along with fundraising opportunities, such as "17 Strong" T-shirts and tickets to Saturday's event, can be found there.

The 16-year-old sophomore suffered seizures two days after playing defensive back for the Saints in a win over Fleetwood on Oct. 19.

An MRI at Hershey Medical Center revealed a brain tumor. A biopsy indicated stage 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma.

His teammates showed support immediately, and in their next game against Wyomissing in the "Backyard Brawl" on Oct. 27, senior Luis Garcia wore Myers' No. 17 jersey.

Anthony's brother, senior center Nico, led Berks Catholic's team onto the field at Wyomissing carrying a flag emblazoned with No. 17.

Garcia caught a touchdown pass on the Saints' first possession, crossing the goal line at 8:17. That number sequence is special to the Myers family because Aug. 17 is the birth date of Anthony's late grandmother, Maddy DiBlasi.

Anthony Myers has always worn No. 17 as a tribute to his grandmother, who died in 2005.

Lutz said the Berks Catholic community came together to offer support and raise funds to help offset medical and other expenses the Myers family will incur.

Lutz said a group of about two dozen people, including parents, teachers, students and family members, have met several times to plan support and fundraising activities.

Penn State football coach James Franklin called Anthony last week to offer support. Franklin played at East Stroudsburg with Ed Myers, Anthony's father, during the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

Lutz said other items, such as hats, magnets and bracelets, will soon be available on the website for purchase.

Berks Catholic Principal Tony Balistrere said students, faculty and staff members are wearing bracelets with Myers' No. 17 as a show of support. The bracelets were donated by a parent and distributed Monday.

Balistrere said the Bishop of the Allentown Diocese, Alfred A. Schlert, offered intentions for Myers when he conducted Mass at Berks Catholic last week on All Saints' Day. The bishop later met privately with Anthony, his brother and his sister, Gia.


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