Bucs host annual Pitch for Hope Clinic at PNC Park

June 3rd, 2023

On Saturday, Pirates and Pirates Charities welcomed 80 strong men and women who have been touched by breast cancer in some way to the ballpark for the annual Pitch for Hope Clinic in support of A Glimmer of Hope. Participants rotated through on-field stations that were run by Pirates players and coaching staff, including Rob Zastryzny, JT Brubaker, Derek Shelton, Mike Rabelo and Oscar Marin before enjoying a delicious brunch in the Left Field Lounge.

“It’s just a fabulous event,” Pirates president Travis Williams said. “To see these women, many of whom are cancer survivors or who are going through current cancer treatment for breast cancer -- to have them out here with smiles on their faces, enjoying the sun, and learning a little baseball from our players and coaches [is great].”

Williams added: “Cancer is such an important aspect of Pirates Charities, starting with our chairman Bob Nutting all the way down through the organization. Cancer [research] is important to us -- and supporting those who have either beaten cancer or are going through it and finding ways to either financially support or put programs in place that support cancer patients as they’re going through it.”

This once-in-a-lifetime event provided participants with the opportunity to test their pitching speed and participate in batting practice. With the help of players and members of the coaching staff, the women left the clinic with baseball tips and inspirational messages.

“We’re behind you,” Brubaker said. “We’re with you. Whatever help, whatever you need. We’re here. We’re here for you, and we’re here to help you in any way possible”.”

All those in attendance have been impacted by breast cancer, whether they’re a fighter themselves or they know someone who is. So most importantly, participants and their guests were also able to spend quality time sharing their personal stories while supporting one another in their journeys.

“You can just feel the energy in the air that they’re able to do this,” executive director and founder of A Glimmer for Hope, Diana Napper said. “Even to be on the field is exciting. So again, you’re giving all these women hope, and I’m grateful for the support.”

Saturday marked the 13th event with A Glimmer of Hope, but the first and certainly not last for Liza Miller. Miller has been cancer-free for eight years, and she was filled with joy to celebrate that milestone with friends, family and fellow breast cancer survivors.

“Organizations like Pirates Charities and A Glimmer of Hope, they give us such support,” Miller said. “This is kind of our way to give them the support back.”

Miller and hundreds of other women have felt the impact that A Glimmer of Hope provides. What makes the organization so unique is that all the money raised from fundraising events, like Saturday’s clinic, stays right in Pittsburgh. And ahead of Saturday’s game, a check for $20,900 was presented to A Glimmer of Hope to further benefit the wonderful work they do in the community, specifically at Allegheny Health Network’s Metastatic Center, which is currently serving approximately 80 patients.

“Everything we raise, we invest back into Pittsburgh,” Napper said. “So, all the women on the field, and even the women not on the field today, are benefiting from this event. We take every penny and put it into programs.”

Napper expressed her gratitude for the relationship between the Pirates and A Glimmer of Hope that formed over a decade ago. Since then, Pirates Charities has contributed to spreading the word and giving hope, while helping invest a couple hundred thousand dollars locally to help those impacted.

“I always say it’s not important what you do good, but what good you do, and the Pirates do good,” Napper said.