By Shawna Mizelle and Chandelis Duster, CNN
A bipartisan group of congressional members and the Washington press corps returned to the field on Wednesday to face off in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game after months of delay, a collegial event that carried a message of hope and awareness.
The game, typically held in June and somewhat of a traditional marker for the start of the season in DC, had been postponed because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The press corps won the game 5-1.
The event raised money for the Young Survival Coalition, a non-profit that targets breast cancer with a focus on young adults. As of Monday, the 2021 game had already raised more than $500,000, exceeding funds raised at that point in the season any other year, according to spokesperson Keegan Bales.
Nearly 13,000 cases of breast cancer in women under age 40 are diagnosed each year, according to the Young Survival Coalition.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, announced the game, reprising a role she’s held in previous contests, alongside CNN’s Dana Bash and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. In September, the Minnesota Democrat shared that she had been diagnosed and successfully treated for Stage 1A breast cancer this year.
“I was in DC. In my apartment by myself. I got the call. They just said it’s actually stage 1A cancer,” she told Bash. “I was scared because I was so surprised. I had always felt good. I had no reason to think that was going to happen.”
She later underwent surgery to remove the cancer and completed radiation treatment in May.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat, helped to found the softball game in 2009 after announcing her own battle with breast cancer at age 41.
“This woman was the first person I went to outside of my family to tell them — tell her that I had breast cancer,” Wasserman Schultz told CNN while standing next to Klobuchar. “Little did I know that, that 13 years later, that I would be standing here with her, both of us being survivors.”
Klobuchar said she had put off getting an exam for a few years and used her announcement to urge Americans to not delay physicals and routine examinations because of the Covid-19 pandemic — as she had.
“It’s easy to put off health screenings, just like I did. But I hope my experience is a reminder for everyone of the value of routine health checkups, exams, and follow-through,” she said at the time of her announcement.
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CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.