I was overwhelmed with pride last Wednesday as I watched women from Congress and the Washington Press Corps face off to raise funds and awareness for young women affected by breast cancer in the fourth annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game in Washington, D.C.
The Congressional Women’s Softball Game was founded in 2009 by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), a young breast cancer survivor herself. Now in its fourth year, the game continues to emphasize the player’s bi-partisan commitment to women’s health and fighting breast cancer.
In a time when many of us around the country are having a hard time understanding what is going on in Congress, I felt proud to see female elected leaders from both sides of the aisle come together to play side-by-side to generate public awareness that young women can and do get breast cancer, as well as critical funds to help YSC address the unique needs facing young women diagnosed with this disease.
Brianna Keilar (CNN) and I talked at the after party about how there is no other event like this in our entire country where Democrats and Republicans truly unite for a cause. House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi were in attendance, along with other notables such as Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Senator Lindsey Graham, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Representative Dennis Kucinich, who was also there to support his daughter, Jackie Kucinich, a reporter at USA Today and member of the Press Corps team. Everywhere you looked you spotted familiar faces that you are used to seeing on TV while you make dinner.
I was also in awe of the press “Bad News Babes” team. These are women we see covering the nation’s news day after day. It was invigorating to hang out with them and hear that they are interested in helping to spread the word that young women can and do get breast cancer. Having NBC’s Andrea Mitchell MC the game after her own battle with breast cancer last year made her presence even more powerful this year as she delivered the play-by-play calls throughout the evening.
The Capitol Police, snipers, bomb-sniffing dogs, and large black SUV’s created a certain buzz in the air, but seeing Debbie Wasserman Schultz hanging out with her beautiful daughter in the dugout cheering on her Republican teammates moments later reminded me that she’s also a wife, mother … and a woman whose life has also been affected by breast cancer.
Days like last Wednesday make me feel proud to be an American and a part of YSC.
Huge thanks to McDonald’s for serving as Lead Sponsor of the game!