Memorable first pitch at breast cancer awareness softball game

Cathy Ann Smith

The Conant and Schaumburg softball teams posing with cancer survivor Jan Sunderlin (center), who threw out the first pitch on May 13.

Jan Sunderlin, mother of Schaumburg High School’s softball first baseman Paige Alt, threw out the first pitch at the Conant vs. Schaumburg softball game on Friday, May 13. Sunderlin was part of a larger organized effort from Conant softball to raise money for breast cancer research.

“It was the utmost honor to be able to throw the first pitch,” Sunderlin said. “I am so honored and happy by both Schaumburg’s and Conant’s kindness.”

Sunderlin, a cancer survivor, threw the pitch to Conant catcher Dream Aaron–someone she has known for years through travel softball–then tearfully thanked everyone and hugged players from both sides.

Sunderlin was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2014.  She fought her disease for two years and has been cancer-free since early 2016. At the game, she expressed her gratitude to her family and friends, who all helped her get past the disease.

“They never left me,” she smiled. “It was the best thing I could ask for.”

Sunderlin’s daughter, Schaumburg first baseman Paige Alt, said, “I was inspired by my mother, who started playing softball when she was only seven.  It was something we could [use to] bond, and it helped us get through [her illness] more easily.”

Alt hit a home run after the first two batters struck out.  Sunderlin says that watching her daughter play softball gives her the greatest joy in her life.

Additionally, Sunderlin reminded other women fighting that they should never lose hope.

“Be strong and never feel sorry for yourself. I beat cancer, but I never let cancer beat me, not even once.”'

Aditi Katwala

Aditi Katwala is a senior at Conant High School. She is excited for her final year working on the Crier as an editor in chief. She is also the captain of the Congressional Debate Team, president of HOSA, and involved in BPA. In her free time, she enjoys Indian classical dancing, Netflix and volunteering at local hospitals. Something that many don't know about Aditi is that she did her Bharatnatyam Arangetram (dance graduation) during the summer of 2014.

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