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Scott's Butterfly Bandits fight cancer in unique ways

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pirates Charities are hosting Stand Up To Cancer during the Aug. 16 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get more therapies to patients quickly and save more lives. By galvanizing the entertainment and sports industry, SU2C is creating awareness and building broad public support for this effort.

Participating in this event will be members of the Scott Township-based Butterfly Bandits.

The group was founded in 2012 by local resident Christine Sypien, a thyroid cancer survivor. “I am trying to make a difference with the cancer that was a life-changing moment for me,” she said. She named the group after butterflies as they are a symbol of hope.

Last year, she formed the group with 25 fellow cancer-surviving volunteers. Their first fundraiser was last September at Fitness Fanatics in Bridgeville. This “Pilates and More for a Cure” raised $900.

In 2013, she organized a “happy hour” event at Cain's Saloon in Dormont that raised more than $3,000. Members will be at the Aug. 16 baseball game to provide information on early detection of thyroid cancer.

“Thyroid cancer is now the highest in new cancer cases among women, but it is alarmingly affecting adolescents as well,” Sypien said. “The American Cancer Society is predicting 60,220 new cases for 2013.”

Western Pennsylvania has a high rate of thyroid cancer. The City of Pittsburgh, the City of McKeesport, the Borough of White Oak and other local communities have proclaimed Sept. 15-21 as Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week.

On Sept. 15, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Butterfly Bandits are hosting another fundraiser and Thyroid Cancer Awareness Day called “Tailgate and Cheer for a Cure.” Bettis' Grille 36 is hosting a tailgate party where survivors and their families are being encouraged to attend and talk to other survivors. The Pittsburgh acoustic band, Local, will entertain. With each ticket sold to the 1:35 p.m. Pirate game against the Chicago Cubs, the Pirates will donate money that will benefit the UPCI Multidisciplinary Thyroid Cancer Research Center.

Butterflies are being sold for a “butterfly release dedication” at the game. Special T-shirts also are available for purchase.

For more information, email Sypien at chris.butterflybandits@gmail.com or call her at 412-901-1469.

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or charlotte59@comcast.net.

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