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PNC Park to Host the Annual Pitch for Hope Women’s Baseball Clinic

By Janice Lane Palko

At times, life can throw women a curve ball, especially when they’ve been given a diagnosis of breast cancer. To support those women and for those who love the games of baseball and softball or who have never stepped on a field but want to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer in our community, PNC Park and the Pittsburgh Pirates are hosting the Annual Pitch for Hope. This event supports the mission of A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, whose focus is to fund innovative programs, treatments, technology, and research in order to prevent breast cancer from advancing. A Glimmer of Hope’s mission is to lead the way to a cure for breast cancer.

In 1994, Diana Napper founded A Glimmer of Hope Foundation to honor the wishes of her best friend, Carol Jo Weiss Friedman, who lost her battle with the disease in 1990. The grass-roots effort, 501c3 nonprofit organization is committed to battling breast cancer through cancer research and programs, and most importantly, clinical trial studies in premenopausal breast cancer, as breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive.

“The Pirates have been so supportive of The Glimmer of Hope Foundation,” said Diana Napper, “even during COVID. To date, our generous sponsors have paid for 30 women to participate in this year’s Pitch for Hope.”

Through various fundraising events supported by businesses, sports organizations, and individuals, Diana and A Glimmer of Hope Foundation have raised more than $3 million, which has been donated to Allegheny Health Network, Magee-Womens Research Institute, the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and Allegheny General Hospital.

“One hundred percent of the money raised through Glimmer of Hope's efforts goes to Metastatic Breast Cancer Research, and all of the dollars stay right here in the Pittsburgh region,” said Napper. Metastatic Breast Cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer.

From these efforts in 2015, A Glimmer of Hope has provided a SenoClaire tomosynthesis machine, which was installed and began operating at the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion of the Allegheny Health Network. A Glimmer of Hope was able to donate $171,000 for the machine. The SenoClaire tomosynthesis helps physicians differentiate benign from dangerous abnormalities and detect cancer in its earliest stages. This machine was the first of its kind in the United States. Also, in addition to the tomosynthesis machine, A Glimmer of Hope has purchased an Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS). This machine detects breast cancer in dense breasts.

In 2016, the foundation created the “Home for Hope,” which is located in the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion and West Penn Hospital. This is a designated space for integrative health services for breast cancer patients. The Home for Hope includes massage therapy, acupuncture, transportation, and childcare.

In October 2020, A Glimmer of Hope opened the Glimmer of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Center at AHN. “This metastatic breast cancer center is the only one in Pennsylvania and possibly the only one on the east coast,” said Napper. “What I love most about the Center is everything happens in one visit. The Center allows the patient to meet with all physicians she needs in one place.”

“Our patients are mothers, wives, friends, co-workers, and employers," says Christie Hilton, DO, director of the Center and medical oncology lead of the Breast Cancer Leadership team at the AHN Cancer Institute. "They deserve to live their lives as normally as possible. By centralizing all her needs into one visit, we hope to alleviate some of the stress and quickly get her back to living her life.”

A Glimmer of Hope Foundation has also teamed up with AHN to offer non-pregnant women ages 18-39 genetic testing as a preventive against cancer in younger women. 

Throughout the year A Glimmer of Hope has various fundraisers like the Clays for the Cure and the Happy Handbag Hour. The Pitch for Hope is a welcome event, and with a $65 Participant Ticket, participants not only engage in an exciting on-field clinic, but they also receive a commemorative gift, enjoy a post-clinic brunch reception, and secure a ticket to the Cubs vs Pirates game that afternoon. For those interested in attending without taking part in the clinic, the $55 Guest Ticket grants access to watch the on-field activities, join the post-clinic brunch reception, and includes a game ticket as well.

Guests are invited to come out to the field, sharpen their baseball skills, network with fellow supporters, and help fund cutting-edge breast cancer prevention efforts.

Proceeds from each ticket sold will benefit A Glimmer of Hope and the important work they do in our local community to fund innovative programs, treatments, technology, and research to prevent breast cancer from advancing.

Visit A Glimmer of Hope's website at: There you can learn about upcoming events, breast cancer, breast cancer research, and how to donate. You can also purchase Diana's original "symbol of the cure" pin as well as other merchandise which helps to fund breast cancer research and provide the latest medical equipment. For more information on volunteering, call 800-454-6746.




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