Wednesday, June 29 2022

The Mazeroski Way cul-de-sac outside PNC Park was a festive scene just before 9 a.m. ET Saturday, as the Pirates and around 1,000 of their fans prepared for the start of the featured Pirates Charities Family Walk by Highmark and Allegheny Health Network.

There was abundant sunshine and crystal clear blue skies. A DJ and the Pirate Parrot got people dancing to catchy hits from artists like the Spice Girls, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. Manager Derek Shelton and pitchers Wil Crowe, Chris Stratton, Chase De Jong and JT Brubaker – dressed in their crisp white Pirates jerseys – chatted with fans and posed for photos as the crowd included many families with young children.

Master of Ceremonies Joe Klimchak proclaimed, “It’s a party in the best baseball stadium in America, and it’s all in support of a great cause.”

The goals of the event were to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, and raise funds for critical mental health programs and initiatives in the region. of Pittsburgh.

The Pirates Charities Family Walk took participants on a one-mile, non-competitive walk through PNC Park that included the main and upper concourses, left field and home plate rotundas and the players’ garage – then onto the field along the warning lane before ending at home plate. There, fans were greeted by Shelton and Pirates chairman Travis Williams with high-fives and more shots. The course was designed with accessibility and inclusiveness in mind and was therefore fully accessible to the ADA.

“We at Pirates Charities, along with our community partners, feel it is our duty to try to reduce the stigma around mental health,” said Jacque Skowvron, executive director of Pirates Charities. “We want to make sure people know it’s okay not to be well, and if they need help, ask for it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We’ve all had times in our lives when we didn’t feel quite right.

“Yeah, that’s the big deal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” added Brubaker, a 28-year-old right-hander in his third season with the Pirates. “Honestly, if I hadn’t asked for help at times, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Mental health is very important.

Attendees received a commemorative black and gold Pirates Charities Family Walk t-shirt and a voucher for two free tickets to an upcoming home game. Everyone was also treated to a carnival after the walk on PNC Park’s newly upgraded Riverwalk which featured food and drink, games and activities for the whole family, music and additional opportunities to interact. with the members of the Pirates.

Additionally, representatives from AHN, Highmark, and local mental health organizations — such as the American Federation for Suicide Prevention, Canine Companions, EMBRACE, Joggin’ for Men, Chuckie Mahoney Foundation, NAMI, and People’s Oakland — were on hand to talk and provide information.

“The collaboration with the Pirates for this event has been wonderful and it helps to shine a light on the importance of the subject,” said Dr. William Davies of the Allegheny Health Network. “What’s most important today is that we’re all coming together with one purpose. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood or community you’re from. We’re here as one Pittsburgh family to raise awareness and to lend our loving support to the mental health needs of our region and to be the sparks of change that will help transform the lives of those who suffer.

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