The event is organized by Mt. Laurel resident Kelly Neri, who lost her mother to breast cancer in 2013.
In May 2013, Mt. Laurel resident Kelly Neri lost her mother Maryann to breast cancer three days after her mother’s 56th birthday.
Neri had served as her mother’s primary caretaker for nearly four years leading to her death, and it was during that time Neri saw what she describes as a lack of resources for women fighting the disease.
Since the day she lost her mother, Neri vowed her mother’s fight would not be in vain, leading Neri and her siblings to start Maryann’s Pink Warriors in 2014 to honor her mother by raising money for breast cancer patients.
To date, the group has raised enough money to deliver more than 150 care packages to Abington Cancer Center, purchase parking vouchers for chemo patients and more.
With several years of success, last year Maryann’s Pink Warriors was officially sponsored by Unite for Her, a non-profit organization that describes itself as helping women diagnosed with breast cancer by providing complimentary therapies designed for physical and emotional wellness.
“I have witnessed firsthand how life-changing and empowering the services and monetary grants they provide are to these women,” Neri said. “Teaming up with them has allowed us to bring awareness to those that do not know these resources are out there … that has been the Pink Warrior’s goal since day one.”
Now with continued sponsorship by Unite for Her, Neri and Maryann’s Pink Warriors are moving forward with the fight against breast cancer by hosting the group’s inaugural “Pink” Home Run Derby for kids ages 7 to 12 on Sept. 23 at Laurel Acres Park Triplex Field.
According to Neri, money raised from the derby will fund a grant for a family in the community that is affected by breast cancer, in addition to helping Unite for Her, which will directly support women in the Mt. Laurel Baseball community diagnosed with breast cancer as well.
“My goal for this event is not only to bring our children, our families and community together for a great cause, but to help the women in our community that are currently fighting and need these resources to help them through their journey,” Neri said. “I want them to know they are not fighting alone.”
Although registration for the event is free, all children participating in the derby are purchasing a shirt to substitute as a donation for the event.
Registration and check-in will open at 9 a.m. on the day of the event.
Each age group (7/8, 9/10, 11/12) will be on its own field at the triplex with varying rules, and Neri encouraged all kids of those ages to participate.
“Having our baseball community come together to bring awareness shows them (those diagnosed with breast cancer) they have our support,” Neri said. “I want to celebrate the survivors, honor those who lost their battle and give hope to those still fighting. Not just in honor of my mother, but every mother, sister and daughter who fought and are currently fighting, too.”
Those who would like to donate but are unable to attend the event can do so at https://uniteforher.causevox.com/pink-warriors.