Inspiring local mom honored at PNC Park

Battling breast cancer, Crawford blogs about experiences, raises money for charity

Inspiring local mom honored at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH -- On a brilliant Sunday, a full house had no trouble identifying the source of what illuminated PNC Park.

It was the smile of Kate Crawford, deserving of a lot bigger honor than being chosen the Pirates' bat girl on Mother's Day.

Standing on the field prior to the Bucs' engagement with the Cardinals, Crawford, a giver, tried to deal with the attention of momentarily being on the receiving end.

Steve Crawford had nominated his wife for being such an inspiration for her kids and peers, at a time she herself can use all the available encouragement. Kate, 30, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer with a 15 percent chance of five-year survival two years ago.

Through the dozens of chemotherapy treatments, Kate has forged indelible memories for twin 6-year-old daughters Grace and Lilly and son Stephen, 5. She has also reached out to fellow cancer victims with a compelling blog, while she and Steve have raised $30,000 to benefit cancer victims.

In short, Kate is more comfortable on the other side of the curtain.

"I'm not really used to it," Kate said of being in the spotlight. "I started the blog as kind of a therapy for myself, and so many women got ahold of me to say how inspiring it was and how I've helped them."

Reading words such as these on her blog indeed inspire: "My love won't be incapacitated. My faith won't be shattered. My hope won't be forsaken. My strength will not be eradicated. And my soul will always be smiling."

"But I don't do anything for myself,"she said. "It's for my kids and to help other people. So when I get to be in the spotlight, it's humbling, but I just feel like I don't deserve it. I don't feel like I've done anything that I wouldn't have normally done."

Kate was able to cease the chemotherapy treatments last year when her tumors shrunk and stabilized. Smiling behind home plate, she looked happy and well, which is how she said she felt.

One got the immediate impression that was Kate's natural disposition. However, being within earshot of the banter in the Pirates' dugout and smelling the freshly-cut infield grass didn't hurt.

"When I was diagnosed, we created a bucket list, and coming to a Pirates game was definitely on it," said the resident of Belle Vernon, Pa. "So this is definitely icing on the cake, because this is something no one gets to experience."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.