Batters Up… The Battle to Beat Breast Cancer

May '13 NC web banner-1

By Rosemary Garrity

 In Pittsburgh, it’s not officially spring, until the Pirates are playing baseball.  Despite the rather cool weather, fans continue to head to the North Shore to watch the games.  What better place than beautiful PNC Park, which has been acclaimed by many to be the crème de la crème of all baseball parks.  Pittsburghers are lucky to have this fantastic facility and a team that supports the community.  Last year, the Pirates sponsored Pitch for Hope to the delight of the many women who want to learn more about the game as well as support a great cause.  After the event, the Pirates presented a $13,000 check to Diana Napper, the founder of A Glimmer of Hope Foundation. In her remarks Napper said, “The Pirates’ involvement means a lot to me and the foundation.  Their support will benefit the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.”

 This year’s format on June 30, will be basically the same, starting with Registration at 7:30. Casual and comfortable clothes and shoes are a must.  Participants will head to the field after receiving a T-shirt and a game ticket.  There, they will be greeted by Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly and Coach Clint Hurdle and his entire coaching staff, who will “teach” the hundreds of women about the intricacies of the game.  Then, the ladies will be asked to perform! It’s all in good fun, and the ladies love to show off what they’ve learned. These gals are fast learners. After the women spend the morning on the field, they will head to the Trib TotalNews Media Hall of Fame Club for lunch and an opportunity to bid on some fabulous baskets. After lunch, the ladies can enjoy the Pirates game.

 One of the reasons that the Pirates affiliate themselves with the Glimmer Foundation is because breast cancer affects so many women, and it really hit home with Clint Hurdle, the Pirates manager.  His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about twenty years ago, and after months of treatment, she is alive and well.  She survived, but the experience certainly affected the entire family.  It always does. Napper was impressed with Hurdle and said he was an inspiration to the women in the clinic who are, or had been, battling breast cancer. Last year, Hurdle’s wife Karla participated in the baseball clinic.  This effort clearly demonstrated that women are a priority in the Pirates organization.

  Part of the proceeds from this year’s Pitch for Hope will be earmarked to purchase equipment that is relatively new.  The AWBU (Automated Whole Breast Imaging Ultrasound) machine will help to detect breast cancer with more accuracy in women who have dense breast tissue. It is well known in the breast-imaging field that women who have dense breast tissue are at a slightly higher risk of having breast cancer. This new equipment would benefit the women in this population.  Of course, having an annual mammogram is the first level of detection. However, if using this new equipment is suggested for some women, insurance in most states won’t pay. Many states now have pending legislation that will change that. This machine is yet another step in the right direction in the fight against breast cancer. Crystal Ross, Director of Allegheny Cancer Center at Allegheny General Hospital, is pleased about Glimmer’s donations. “Last year Glimmer supported the AGH Breast Cancer Care Center with the purchase of a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool, providing computerized 3D mammography. Obviously, this partnership has been instrumental in improving outcomes for patients who are treated in the WPAHS.”

 A Glimmer of Hope Foundation is fortunate to have  groups like the The Women’s Golf Committee at Treesdale Country Club championing their efforts. Jocelyn Thompson and her co-chairs Diane Blakeney and Karen Whiteford are already planning for this year’s golf outing on Thursday, June 6. Thompson states, “We are once again thrilled to be partnering with A Glimmer of Hope Foundation for our annual charity golf tournament.  We are hopeful to raise even more money this year by expanding our tournament to three divisions: Men only, Women only, and Mixed teams.”  Anyone interested in playing can go to the Glimmer website symbolofthecure.com to download an entry form.

 Noreen McGinnis Campbell, owner of McGinnis Sisters Special Food Services, is a new supporter of A Glimmer of Hope Foundation. She is very pleased that the funds that are raised by Glimmer stay in Pittsburgh. “McGinnis Sisters is pleased to partner with Glimmer of Hope to raise funds for breast cancer research, treatment and education right here in Pittsburgh.  For Mother’s Day weekend, we will be offering beautiful hanging baskets and a portion of the proceeds will go to Glimmer of Hope.  In addition, we are planning a Mother’s Day tea so you can share some special time with mom enjoying delicious food and music by Nick Marzock.” There are now three locations for the store in Adams Township, Monroeville, and Brentwood.  There are also individuals like Bill Phillips who work tirelessly to get money for breast cancer research. After his wife died of the disease, Phillips started making trivets out of wine corks, which he sells at various places.  To date, he has donated about $13,000 to Glimmer of Hope.  This is an amazing and much appreciated effort! According to Napper,” I can’t thank Bill enough for his hard work and generosity. He is unbelievable!”

 Rue21, based in Warrendale, a leading teen specialty retailer focusing on trendy and fashionable products for the teen generation, is another supporter of Glimmer.  Napper is very pleased with this partnership because it helps to educate young women about breast cancer. Since rue21 has stores in 47 states throughout the US, it provides the ability to reach thousands of young girls. Through specially designed promotions, rue21 plans to earmark a portion of the proceeds for Glimmer’s cancer projects.

 This year’s Pitch for Hope Women’s baseball Clinic, sponsored by Highmark and rue21 is sure to be the best ever.  This is a great opportunity for women to have a fun-filled day while learning a bit more about baseball and supporting a great cause.  The cost of the ticket is $60 and includes the on-field clinic, brunch, a commemorative T-shirt and a ticket to the Pirates vs Tigers game at 1:35.  For ticket information contact Michelle Mejia at(412) 321-BUCS or michelle.mejia@pirates.com.