Yankees do part for childhood cancer awareness

Yankees do part for childhood cancer awareness

NEW YORK -- The Yankees participated in Major League Baseball's league-wide effort to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on Friday by welcoming 4-year-old Billy Biviano and his family to Yankee Stadium as special guests of the team.

Billy was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at 14 months of age, which has affected his vision, weight and mental development. He has undergone two years of chemotherapy and has been told by doctors that he will need to continue to do so for the rest of his life, or until a cure is found.

"We are honoring him today with Major League Baseball and the Yankees, commemorating Cancer Awareness Month," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For children under the age of 15, pediatric cancer is the No. 1 killer. Over 250,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide every year.

"Billy is extremely brave and has shown a lot of strength through this, so we are honoring him today and our hats are off to him."

Major League Baseball recently announced that it has launched a league-wide effort by dedicating a special Childhood Cancer Awareness Day at all of its ballparks. In partnership with Stand Up To Cancer, MLB has encouraged clubs to support this new initiative in commemoration of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month through a variety of special events.

All Major League players, coaches, umpires and grounds crew members have worn gold-ribbon decals and wristbands to further promote awareness for childhood cancer.

Billy and his family -- including his twin brother, Michael, and his older brother, Joey (11) -- made the trip to the Bronx on Friday from their home in Millstone, N.J.

The journey was a welcome perk for the pre-kindergarten student, who recently completed a 48-week chemotherapy program in response to the tumor's spread down his left optic pathway. Since being diagnosed, Billy has also been subjected to countless MRI examinations and doses of medication.

"Yet through all of this, Billy handles everything with bravery and strength," said his father, Vinny. "He has a smile that brings joy to everyone who meets him, and you cannot help but feel happy when you're around him. He truly is 'Brave' Billy."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.