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Cancer survivor celebrated as Bucs' Bat Girl

PITTSBURGH -- Cathy McGrath, who has survived with and worked to raise awareness of breast cancer for nearly a quarter-century, was celebrated as the Pirates' Honorary Bat Girl prior to Sunday night's game at PNC Park.

The Buccos fan from Charleroi, Pa., delivered the ceremonial first pitch before the Pirates took on the Cardinals, then sat back to enjoy Pittsburgh's first Sunday night game in 18 years from the Pirates Charities Luxury Suite.

McGrath has undergone 30 radiation treatments and six-plus years of medication therapy since her 1991 diagnosis.

Besides getting well, she has devoted her energies to bringing attention to breast cancer, focusing on the vitality of regular self-examinations.

In coordination with the Pittsburgh branch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, McGrath has hosted numerous functions for the cause, from fundraisers to awareness luncheons.

MLB's Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. Honorees for each of the 30 teams are chosen primarily by fan votes on, with input from a judging panel that includes ballplayers Evan Longoria, Freddie Freeman and Pablo Sandoval.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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