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The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced league-wide in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. In ten years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and hundreds of individuals have been honored.

In 2019, MLB Clubs each selected their respective Honorary Bat Girl based upon the honoree's personal connection to breast cancer; demonstration of commitment to the battle through education, awareness, fundraising or additional efforts and awareness; and demonstration of substantial local community impact.

We celebrate the spirit and efforts of the following 2019 honorees.

Honorary Bat Girls will be fundraising through a CrowdRise landing page. The highest fundraiser will earn World Series Game 4 tickets during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). Airfare & accommodations will be provided.

2019 Honorees

Her second chemo treatment came a week after delivering. Here's her amazing story: Sunday before Thanksgiving last year, Melanie, of Bel Air, felt a breast lump in the shower. Since she was pregnant, Melanie and the doctor she called assumed it was a lactation issue and decided it could wait to be checked at her next appointment. An ultrasound of the lump looked suspicious, so they opted for the mammogram, and a biopsy was scheduled. She was 22 weeks pregnant. At 24 weeks, a port was surgically implanted into her chest to start chemotherapy.

"I wasn't sure how it would affect the baby," Melanie said, "They kept assuring me that there wouldn't be any effects, but I kept thinking about how they know the impact of smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but you can get chemo and the baby will be fine?"

A meeting of the experts at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center raised the case. One option they discussed: steroid shots to hasten the development of the baby's lungs and inducing labor earlier so that Melanie could start aggressive treatment. Ultimately, her care plan was decided and 24 weeks into her pregnancy, Melanie started chemo.

"Here I am trying to prepare for the birth of my first child and I have breast cancer and am worrying about whether or not I'll be able to watch my daughter grow. The fear is still there. She's growing like a weed now and perfectly healthy. She's doing well! But I have surgery still. I'm so worried about being away from her."

Melanie finishes chemo on May 9 -- three days before her first Mother's Day. But she's still on her cancer journey. Last Friday, she met with breast surgeon Dr. Atsuko Okabe, to discuss surgery. The lump has shrunk from the chemo, but it's still too large to remove by lumpectomy surgery. She'll need a mastectomy. She's had sixteen total chemo treatments and four more to go, followed by surgery and radiation.

"This Friday, I get another mammogram and ultrasound to double check and measure the lump, and then I'll meet with (MedStar Franklin Square plastic and reconstruction surgeon) Dr. Gabriel Del Corral."

Truly a Mother's Day story, and one of support: several other new moms donated breast milk to baby Morgan because Melanie wasn't allowed to nurse her.

"It was absolutely wonderful," Melanie said emotionally. "The support and encouragement I've had from other moms has been amazing. The baby was almost four weeks old before I had to introduce formula. Now she takes both. I didn't know what to expect since she's my first child, but she is keeping me focused. She's keeping me focused on my treatments."

After the diagnosis, the next year and a half was a whirlwind of two surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Christa was a wreck physically, but emotionally was strong because she was so incredibly lucky to have the support of her family, friends and students. She was also lucky that the man she had just started dating was by her side every step of the way. After all the treatment was over, they married, and Christa was told that she might never be able to have children due to the chemotherapy.   Well, they were wrong, and Christa's beautiful daughter Callie, who is 10 years old, is here today. Christa has been cancer free for 18 years!

On that day in October 2008, Lesley, Chris and Miranda (ages fourteen and nine at the time, respectively) lost their husband and father at age forty-one due to a sudden heart attack. The family of four that enjoyed attending multiple White Sox games and occasional vacations felt a big void with the loss of one of their team members.

Lesley was determined to show her kids that this would not define them or their paths. She set the example by continuing to follow her dreams by going to culinary school, even while working a part-time job and caring for her two children. In 2015, Lesley received another blow. Discovering a lump under her arm led to a doctor's appointment that confirmed she had cancer, specifically invasive ductal carcinoma stage 2b triple negative breast cancer. She also tested positive for the BRCA1 gene.

Lesley was now single mom of two and undergoing chemotherapy. Lesley wouldn't let this slow her down as she achieved her dream and graduated from culinary school. After that victory, there were still looming tests. Taxol entered her veins due to an infection from her port, she had a bilateral right radical mastectomy, then thirty-three rounds of radiation all within about ten months until Lesley's boyfriend, Bart, set on being by her side throughout her battle, proposed to a culinary school graduate the best way he knew how -- with a bread twist.

Lesley and Bart planned their wedding in three weeks with the help of family, friends, culinary classmates and with the help of a local Joliet, IL, baseball team. As has been customary in Lesley's life, there are great times, but frequent obstacles as well. Lesley has battled through nine surgeries (so far), four rounds of Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide, twelve rounds of Taxol and thirty-three rounds of radiation. Lesley chooses not to dwell on the tough hand she's been dealt.

Every October, her family holds a food drive in memory of Chris. She helps the Cancer Support Center in Mokena and Homewood, IL, by teaching healthy cooking classes, among others. Lesley is a constant supporter of others facing similar struggles to those she has encountered. Lesley and her family know their battle isn't over, but they're prepared to take on whatever comes their way.

Lesley's daughter Miranda has nominated her mother to serve as the 2019 White Sox Honorary Bat Girl. Miranda is convinced that this year will be her mother's best yet.

During her chemotherapy, Heather underwent an innovative therapy to help protect her fertility for the future. About a year after finishing treatment she had a baby girl. Heather is grateful to Dr. Halle Moore her oncologist, "thanks to her, we now have two little girls who love each other, and we love both of them so much."

Heather, her husband and two daughters plan to attend the game.

The hormone receptor was HER-2, which is an aggressive type of cancer.

My first instinct was to keep the news to myself. I'm a private person, and I realized how devastating my diagnosis was going to be to my family and friends. After a few days, my husband and I sat down and told our kids. The word "cancer" often brings death to mind. We assured our children that there was a treatment for my cancer, and it had been caught early, due to my annual mammogram screenings. Still, it was tough. We all grieve in different ways - there was silence, tears and questions. We prayed together and eventually, we all began to deal with the diagnosis in our own way.

A port was placed in my chest, and I began aggressive chemotherapy treatment immediately. I was given detailed expectations of the side effects of the drugs by a very kind oncology nurse. Each of the six sessions took place in the hospital for 6-8 hours, over a period of four months. My husband was retired from baseball at the time, and was by my side 24/7. For that, I am very thankful.

It was a difficult time, physically and emotionally. I had a wonderful support system, made up of extended family, friends and the church. At the end of the intensive treatments, protocol for my type of cancer was removal of the breast. My surgical oncologist and I patiently waited for my blood counts to get high enough to chance a surgery, since the risk of infection was a big concern.

I was able to have the mastectomy in September 2017. The surgeon found no evidence of the two previous masses. After analyzing lymph node biopsies taken during the surgery, it was determined that there was no indication of cancer in the lymph nodes. Cancer free!

As a precaution, protocol included one more year of a chemo drug, delivered by infusion in the hospital every three weeks. Side effects were very minimal, and I completed these treatments in May 2018.

I am most grateful for my relationship with God. I believe that God can use anything for good, and that includes cancer. I am blessed.

Sixteen years ago, at the age of 36, I was performing my monthly Breast Self-Exam (BSE) and noticed a lump on my left breast. For years, it seemed, my OB/GYN had me watch a Komen funded educational BSE VHS tape which reminded me to perform my BSE, so I figured I should start with an appointment with him. After performing an exam on me, my doctor referred me to a breast surgeon. During my visit with my breast surgeon, she suggested I have a fine needle aspiration right in her office. Within a week and a half, I had been diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma hormone-receptor-positive Her-2 Negative Grade 3 breast cancer. Since that day, I participate, fundraise, service as a spokesperson and volunteer in the Komen Houston Race for the Cure®. The organization provides grants towards research, education, screening and treatment! After my lumpectomy, I participated in a protocol, one of which Komen helped fund. It included eight courses of chemotherapy, four of Taxotere® with Xeloda and four of FEC, six weeks of radiation, five years of Tamoxifen and five years of Femara. Komen has granted funds for research on most of the pharmaceutical drugs that I encountered during treatment, including Femara. By granting funds towards research to organizations like MD Anderson to perform protocols, others today can be treated with cancer drugs that are targeted to their cancer genetics, which enables survivors to have an equivalent survival rate as those having had all the treatment I had. The funds granted to research by organizations like Komen are a blessing to us survivors! In some cases, it may mean a less invasive treatment because of this research. My supporters have helped me raise close to $100,000 since 2003. I have been recognized as a Komen Pink Honor Roll Member Top 100 Fundraiser since 2003. I received the Komen Loyalty Award for 10 years of dedicated fundraising. Over the last 16 years, I have volunteered as a MD Anderson Hat Cart Volunteer, was a member of Young Survival Coalition, participated in American Cancer Society events, participated in The Rose events, all of which are organizations that have been funded partners of Komen over the 16 years. I have also served as a spokesperson for Komen. I was featured in Sugar Land Magazine. I have also been featured in media campaigns, billboards in 2010 and 2016, and have been interviewed for radio and news shows. I continue to seek the support of my friends and family with hopes of raising more than $5,000 each year to grant funds to programs in the Houston area, such as ones I participated in while being treated at MD Anderson. Sixteen years ago, $5,000 was not enough for one course of chemo; I had eight courses. To service those financially underprivileged, Komen through grants, can provide funds to organizations like The Rose used to fund treatment. Organizations like Komen have an impact on survivors like me. As a 16-year Komen Race registrant and volunteer, my first race memory is so vivid. My race participation serves as a support mechanism, too! My very first race in 2003, on a chilly Houston morning, I was taking pictures with my family. Before the Race started, the vendor representing the survivor rose saw I was a very bald pink t-shirt wearing survivor. He was so kind to me and comforted me with words of encouragement. He asked me to look for him after the race. As I started the race, I stepped into the crowd. I have a mental and actual photo of this moment. I looked back at the thousands of people, none who knew me, but all were there to support me, and others like me. The Race was wonderful, everything and more than I expected. At the end of the Race, the volunteer cheerleaders had lined up for the Survivor Path. They were high fiving me, handing me roses, the emotions in me were indescribable. At the end of the Survivor Path, the vendor providing the survivor roses was there to hand me what seemed like a ton of roses. He remembered me. He, a stranger, supported me in my race. As I walked around the grounds of the Race, other veteran survivors were handing me their roses, they were supporting me and my baldness, my struggle, my race for a cure.

As a physician and care provider of cancer patients, she thought she was as prepared as anyone for a breast cancer diagnosis. But that all changed in August 2018 when Dr. Broxterman, 41, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Broxterman, a mother of four, was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, a rare and aggressive cancer that is challenging to treat. On top of that, she also has rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease which complicates breast cancer treatment. Under the guidance of her care team at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Dr. Broxterman had chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. She returned to her full-time medical practice in March.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. It was already a challenging time for me because when I got the diagnosis, it was 3 months after my beloved husband passed away. I'll never forget hearing the doctor's words and how I felt like I had been sucker punched. And my journey had begun! The first thing I did was reach out to family and friends. I was hoping and counting on their support and I received it ten-fold.

The love and support of my significant others was a powerful spiritual medicine. They helped carry me on this journey when it was hard to put one foot in front of the other. My daughter invited family and friends to accompany me to chemotherapy. I had 12 sessions and 12 friends. I chose an apostle's name for each friend. As all journeys have their twists and turns, I ended up with a 13th visit, so I named that person, Mary. I know words matter. I never wanted to say, "I have cancer" instead I would think cancer is passing through me. It was all a process. Radiation was the next part of this journey. This one I did solo. But there were times friends would meet me afterwards for dessert. An important truth I discovered is just being there is what truly matters. After the surgery, chemo and radiation was done, my kind sister and daughters organized a group of family and friends to join me in celebrating this milestone and participating in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk. As the Angels know a great team works together, shares goals and talents, and has FUN. That describes Team Catfish (my nickname). We proudly banded together and celebrated this glorious day, with yummy treats, Catfish t-shirts, banners blowing in the breeze, and everyone wearing pink sunglasses with rhinestones. Nobody could have been happier than me!

On this journey, part of the blessing was feeling loved and cherished. I knew cancer would not define me. I am so grateful to be honored by the Angels and to be able to share my story. This journey was one of discovery. Discovering I was stronger than I realized and the power of love!

Twelve years later, in 2004, Monica was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and went through a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and went through the same treatment process, but the cancer returned as Stage 4 in 2015. Currently, Monica is considered stable and is undergoing targeted medication therapy. "Just the fact that I wake up every day and that I'm upright, breathing and still able to enjoy life. I think focusing on those little daily things, whether it's going for ice cream in the evening or looking at pretty flowers, for as silly as it seems. Sometimes sitting back and taking those moments, and just taking a breath, is very fulfilling. Other than that, it's time with your family and friends and just filling it with easy, happy things."

Last year, when Ori was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 31, she was shocked when she self-discovered a lump on her left breast. Just three weeks later, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 HER2+ breast cancer. Never the one to shy away from adversity, Ori decided to tackle her diagnosis head-on and immediately came to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center to meet with doctors Lisa Weichmann and Melissa Accordino to set up her treatment plan and chemotherapy regimen. Breast cancer isn't new to Ori or her family, as her mom and three of her aunts are also cancer survivors. But with perseverance, a good sense of humor, a positive disposition and the amazing care at NYP/Columbia, not only did Ori beat her cancer, but she did so in six months!

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis at any age is difficult, but Ori found that watching her Yankees play - whether at the stadium or on TV - brought much needed comfort and joy and she doesn't doubt for a single minute that watching her favorite team play her favorite sport helped her heal much faster. This, along with all the help and support she found at NYP/Columbia, both from doctors and support staff, has brought Ori to a state of remission she plans to keep for a very long time.

Our family is made up of life-long, die-hard A's fans, as my husband's family was from Oakland. Our boys had no choice! Both of our boys played baseball, where my husband was a coach and I was the team mom. Baseball helped our family heal from the trauma of dealing with cancer. My boys were three and eight years old when I was first diagnosed, and are now 22 and 27 years old, respectively. My youngest son currently plays baseball for UCSD. We are a baseball family through and through. To be selected as a bat girl would be such an honor to represent all the women battling breast cancer now and those whom we have lost along the way.

Since age 40, she'd kept up with regular mammograms, none of which showed any signs of cancer. In 2016, however, she decided to put off her mammogram for a few months, because she wanted to wait for the highly-anticipated 3D mammography technology that was coming to Franciscan Breast Center - Burien. When the 3D imaging became available, she did have her mammogram, and a small lump was discovered.

Dianne had a lumpectomy in September 2016 and began a month of radiation therapy at Highline Cancer Center in November.

Today, Dianne is healthy and lives in Poulsbo, but spends much of her time caring for her mother, who lives in West Seattle. (Her mother was diagnosed with very early stage breast cancer 20 or so years ago, which Dianne attributes to hormone therapy and not genetics.)

Dianne says "I'm a big advocate for regular screenings, because I don't think people can rely on finding things themselves. I didn't have any symptoms. Even if you're doing regular self-breast exams, you can't always feel a lump yourself."

My cancer journey started in 2005 when my husband was stricken with blood infections that would never clear up. In 2007, doctors realized it was because his kidneys weren't cooperating, and he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Many weeks later he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and needed to have surgery again! His body was fighting to live, but after years of long and hard fighting, we lost the battle in 2012. My husband of 47 years was gone. Myself and our two sons became tired, but also gained a strength from watching him fight every day. Then came the day, ironically on Mother's Day 2017, I was to be challenged again. I discovered a symptom of my own. After mammograms, MRI's and biopsies, I was told those words, "the biopsies are positive for breast cancer." For me, it wasn't a question of surgery for double mastectomy, but when can we do it? Chemo didn't start until a few months after. A year of treatments and feeling so blessed to kick this demon seemed to never end. But it did and we WON. It NEVER entered my mind to give in, but to hit it head on. My sons, grandkids and family have kept me in the HERE and NOW! I told them from the beginning that we would not be sad. After all, there's "No Crying in Baseball." And we didn't, not once did they see me cry, because I didn't. I also must thank the Tampa Bay Rays for keeping me focused on a game I love. I spent all my recuperating time watching Rays games and waiting until I could get back to watch the games in person. I am a blessed mother and grandmother, and two years later, I can say that I am cancer free. I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR!!! Lots of love, answered prayers and baseball were my best medicine.

My mom's diagnosis reminded me of the importance of self-breast exams. I found a lump. I was only 37 years old and in great health. Surely, I was over-reacting. It couldn't be cancer, right?

I finally went to my doctor to address the lump that I had found. I was scheduled for a mammogram and imaging later that week, and then because of the mammogram results, a biopsy the following day. Three months after my mom's diagnosis, I was told the dreaded words, "I'm sorry, but as we suspected, it is breast cancer." And just like that, my world changed in an instant. My mom and I would be battling breast cancer at the same time.

I was diagnosed with stage 2 ER/PR+ breast cancer. It was aggressive and growing quickly. I completed eight rounds of chemotherapy, underwent a double mastectomy along with reconstruction, and will take tamoxifen for a total of 10 years to minimize the risk of a recurrence.

This spring, both my mom and I are celebrating four years as survivors and are both considered cancer-free! I am alive today because people before me recognized the importance of funding research to find better/more effective treatments for breast cancer. I will continue to fundraise/volunteer for Susan G. Komen and fight for myself, my daughter, my mom, my sisters, my friends and all the little girls out there until breast cancer is gone for good! I want to make a difference so that one day, this diagnosis will be a thing of the past. Research and advocacy SAVES LIVES!  

She graduated from Dawson College in 2000 as a medical lab technologist then worked at Montreal Children's Hospital for two years when she decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces in June 2002. She enrolled as a direct entry medical lab technologist, and her first posting was the St-Jean Medical Clinic for one month before being posted to Halifax. It was amazing to return to the East Coast after six years of living away. Since joining, she has worked in Halifax, sailed on the USNS Comfort, deployed to Afghanistan, been posted to 14 Wing Greenwood (IR four years) and then Halifax again. She has taught numerous times in Borden, was part of the Speaker's Bureau, speaking at various events, and has been a harassment advisor, ethics coordinator and UGSO and workplace violence investigator.

Currently, she is the Regional Medical Lab Technologist Advisor for the Eastern AOR (Borden, Gagetown, Halifax and Greenwood). She ensures that policies and procedures are implemented and followed while managing staffing issues and concerns. She believes in maintaining a high level of physical fitness and enjoys running, weight training and playing soccer in the Halifax Women's League.

In May 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which required all the treatment you can imagine. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and herceptin infusions until August 2017 and hormone therapy for the next five years. It happened at a difficult time because she had gotten separated in July 2015, and her two young children were depending on her.

So she fought. She ran and went to the gym during chemo and radiation - she might be a little stubborn - and maintained a positive outlook. Currently, she feels healthy and returned back to work full time. Her kids remain the center of her world.

She believes in passing good things forward, and since her initial diagnosis, she tries to support and educate other people going through the same thing.

In the summer of 2018, Kate had not been feeling well for a while and had been searching for answers. Kate was diagnosed with lung cancer on Nov. 19, 2018. She has a genetic form of lung cancer that is not caused by smoking On Nov. 21, 2018, she was told that the lung cancer had metastasized to her brain. She later learned that it had spread to her bones, lymph nodes and liver. Kate is currently undergoing treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Arizona.

Kate has a deep commitment to her community and is continuing to practice law while fighting cancer. When Kate is not busy kicking cancer's butt or fighting for the rights of individuals, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She works to give back to others and helps fundraise to find a cure for cancer. In 2019, Kate, her family and friends participated in the annual D-Backs Race Against Cancer where Kate's team was the top fundraiser, raising over $5,000 to support services and research for others also battling cancer.

Kate is truly an inspiration to all of those around her, so much so that Kate was recently an honored by the Helping One Women organization. Kate is truly the kindest, most caring person that one can ever have the chance of having in their life, and she continues to encourage all around her with her commitment and strength.

In October 2018, Amanda was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that eventually spread into her sternum, spine and hips. She began taking a new form of medication to aggressively diffuse the cancer in her body. In December 2018, doctors removed Amanda's ovaries, so her body would have less estrogen to fuel the cancer in her body. Amanda found out about a month ago that she is in stable condition.

Devastated and frightened of what the future would bring, Kristen sought a second opinion at Lutheran General Hospital with Dr. Memmel and Dr. Kaiser. On November 12, 2018, she had a right mastectomy and began chemotherapy on December 20, 2018 (her husband's birthday), all while pregnant with twins. On February 21, 2019, she received great news that she was officially cancer free. Kristen delivered beautiful, healthy baby girls (Josephine Esther and Ivy Rose) on March 22. Despite the journey that Kristen went through while pregnant, she is positive that her daughters saved her life. Kristen was seeing an infertility specialist and was taking estrogen and progesterone, which caused the tumor to grow faster than usual. Otherwise, the tumor would have grown at a slower rate and most likely become dormant. Kristen continued working throughout her treatment and acknowledges that she had a fantastic support group comprised of her family, friends and coworkers.

This will be Kristen's first Mother's Day with her family and she is excited to attend the Cubs Pink Out event with her husband.

Her sister shared, "I am with her often and see first-hand her positive influence that she has with others when questioned about her cancer. She takes it in stride and lives each day to the fullest. She has been a big part of fundraisers for ACS with our family and fully supports its cause. Today, Laura has yet another scan and although it is always a concern in hearing results, she is instrumental with her outlook and attitude. I, as well as all that know Laura, admire the person she is through this life challenge."

Her husband John was a Real Men Wear Pink candidate in 2016. By the time the second campaign rolled around in 2017, Laura had been diagnosed with breast cancer - and with a very advanced, Stage IV diagnosis. John spoke emotionally at the kick-off breakfast about how differently he felt about the campaign after Laura's diagnosis. He suddenly knew first-hand how devastating a cancer diagnosis could be - and how much help was needed. He went on to be the most successful fundraiser of that campaign, with Laura by his side.

Laura's positivity has been an inspiration for all the candidates in our Cincinnati Real Men Wear Pink campaign (the number one fundraising campaign in the country in 2018). She is an inspiration to all and a team cheerleader for everyone working so hard to raise money to fight this dreadful disease. John and Laura have collectively raised - just through their efforts - more than $37,000 in three years to fight breast cancer in our community.

We were not with her and I'm still haunted that she died without her family by her side. We were shocked and devastated, as my mom was the heart of our family. My father, a retired Air Force veteran and retired federal law enforcement officer, and who had been successfully battling Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer, suffered a setback after my mom's passing and was admitted to the ICU, just a couple of weeks after her funeral. He eventually recovered enough to be sent home and I spent my weekends looking after him and my adult special needs brother, while going back to work full-time.

Just a couple of weeks later, the evening of February 13, I discovered a lump in my left breast. I got in to see a doctor the very next day and I was told my lump was most likely a Lipoma (a fatty cyst), but I was referred for a mammogram and ultra-sound to confirm. Both exams came and went, and the very same day they performed a biopsy. Waiting alone in that room for the biopsy to begin was the longest 20 minutes of my life, as I tried my hardest not to cry. I wanted my mom more than anything in that moment, but I was alone. I settled by texting my cousin and two best friends, but that was a small consolation. As optimistic a person as I am, in my gut I knew what the biopsy would confirm the very next day. March 1st, 2018, I received confirmation that I had breast cancer. My blood froze, and my heart pounded while the person on the phone gently brought me into a whole new world, using words and phrases that were foreign to my ears. My boss was the first person I told, and I cried. Those few minutes that afternoon was the only time I cried about my cancer.

The next month was busy. I underwent more exams, pokes and prods, and I lost count of just how many people saw my breasts. Because of its placement and due to the small size of my tumor, I was a candidate for a Lumpectomy, which I had on March 15, 2018. My tumor and two lymph nodes were removed, and I received the final pathology report shortly after: Invasive Ductcal Carcinoma in situ, Grate 2, Stage 1A, ER+, PgR+, and HER2+. Because my cancer was hormone positive (Estrogen and Progesterone), it meant I could be treated with hormone blockers. I was also HER2+ however, which is not good. The Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) is a gene that can promote the growth of cancer cells, making it a more aggressive type of cancer. I was told only about 25 percent of breast cancer patients are positive for HER2, and because of this, I had to undergo a more aggressive treatment plan compared to others diagnosed at my stage. I had my first chemo on April 16, 2018 and had it once a week for 12 weeks. The fourth week I started losing my hair in clumps and on Mother's Day, a family friend shaved the rest of my hair off. My family and I turned it into a party and several of the guys I work with shaved their heads in solidarity. That chemo was completed on July 3rd. I continued a secondary treatment every few weeks for several more months and I began radiation at the end of July. I continued to work full-time throughout.

Every day for four weeks I was radiated, and I will forever have the oddest tan line across the left side of my chest. It was during that time that my dad's condition deteriorated, and we were told there was nothing else that could be done to save him. We started in-home hospice care and I struggled with the realization that my dad was not going to get better. While fighting cancer myself, I tried my best to keep my dad hopeful and positive but prepared for what was coming. In the end his cancer proved too evil. My dad passed away on September 21, 2018, three days after turning 70. My family and I surrounded him, sending him off with love. I slept for days afterwards and then began planning his funeral, just nine months after having to plan my mom's. Life changed even more at that point as I had to move out of my Denver home and into my parents' house in Castle Rock to care for my special needs brother. I continued with my cancer treatment and in November I started a hormone blocker, one that I will have to take for five years and could put me in menopause. As a woman in her mid-40's, I can't say I'm ready for that one yet.

On April 1st, 2019, I had my final cancer treatment in the infusion center. I am both excited and apprehensive. My hair is growing in thick and curly and I'm hoping to see a drop in my fatigue and decrease in my joint pain. No more hard medications and expensive costs of chemo. Yet what's started is the worry I have at the unexplained pains one tends to get from time to time. Normal people don't think anything of it. Me? I'm sure it's a brain tumor. I also can't ignore the fact that because I had an aggressive cancer there is a very real possibility it will reoccur. I need to pay attention to my body for signs the cancer is back, but I also can't let the fear consume me. People have asked me many times the past several months how I've made it through the year. I tell them simply, "Because I had to." I wasn't given a choice to change anything that's happened to my family this last year, however I had all the power in how I responded to what I was handed. I could choose to wring my hands in agony and cry, or I could fight and find the positives in everyday life. And there are many. Whether they're overt and grand in gesture or small and meaningful, life hands us gifts every day and it's up to us to see them. My cancer may return, it may not, but I'm still me. Breast cancer has added a chapter to my life, but it's not defined who I am. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a warrior.


Having completed her undergraduate degree, law degree and now treatment at UCLA, Jessica is proud to be a triple Bruin!

Jessica feels incredibly lucky to be surrounded by an amazing support system. She couldn't have done it without the love and support of her all-star team, which includes: her parents, who took turns flying in from New York for each chemo and oncology appointment; her sister, who was a top five fundraiser in the Chicago Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure only four weeks after Jessica's diagnosis last spring; her team at the office, who covered for her and helped her to continue working full-time as a family lawyer throughout her treatment; her incredible team of doctors and nurses, each of whom are superb, compassionate and kind; and her amazing group of friends who sent her weekly flowers and inspirational notes throughout chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

This all-star team helped Jessica approach every aspect of her treatment with strength, spirit and courage. Jessica feels it is important to create awareness of breast cancer in young women. She is involved with UCLA's Simms Mann Center and Sharsheret, a nationwide breast cancer support organization for women. Through these connections, she hopes to broaden awareness surrounding breast cancer in young women and work on ways to support others in similar situations.

She completed her internship at Greenwich Hospital, a Yale University affiliate, a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City.

She is currently an associate professor of medicine at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, where she also serves as Director of Community Outreach and Co-Director of the Women's Center in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

Dr. Mahtani has devoted her career to the treatment of breast cancer patients, and has served as principal investigator on multiple clinical trials. She has authored numerous papers and has lectured nationally and internationally. She has a strong interest in medical education and is the medical chair for recurring breast oncology educational meetings for community physicians. She continues to participate in ongoing initiatives that enhance patients' access to healthcare, community collaboration for education and advocacy, and medical student training and advancement. Her patients quickly develop a close bond and great trust in her, as she has always been a strong advocate for them.

Founded and grounded in Milwaukee, ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis -- offering free, personalized, one-to-one support for all those affected by breast cancer, is proud to nominate Lisa Armitage for Brewers Bat Girl.

Lisa has been involved with ABCD for more than sixteen years. In 2003, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer, when she was pregnant with her second child. Feeling devastated and alone, Lisa searched for emotional support from someone who would understand what she was facing. She turned to ABCD.

With her medical team and her ABCD mentor by her side, Lisa faced surgery, chemo and radiation while pregnant. Following her breast cancer experience, Lisa wanted to give back; to be able to support other women who at the time of diagnosis are pregnant, want to become pregnant or have small children.

Lisa's personal experience as an ABCD participant made it an easy decision as to how she would 'give back,' Lisa turned to ABCD for training and became a mentor. Today, her son is an active, healthy, fifteen-year-old who keeps his mom, dad and sister on their toes. Aside from being a hands-on mom and loving to cook, Lisa has been mentoring with ABCD for more than 14 years. Her compassion and understanding have proven time and time again to be invaluable for the women she has mentored. Lisa has given hope for their future and confidence that they too can face the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis. She has shared tears and laughter with them through one of the most challenging times in their lives.

In the words of one of her participants, "there is no one who is more compassionate than Lisa."

For her strength as she went through her personal breast cancer diagnosis, for her commitment to helping others dealing with a diagnosis, for the difference Lisa has made and continues to make -- ABCD is honored to call Lisa Armitage an ABCD mentor, and to nominate her for 2019 Brewers Bat Girl.

Treatment has included surgery, chemo and radiation, along with planned breast reconstruction. She recently finished radiation therapy (in early March 2019) and is feeling well. Jennifer's daughter, Marlowe, turns one on May 17. Jennifer visited Albany to help support a bill to have mammograms covered at 35 years old and was successful in having two state senators sign the bill. Jennifer also visited Albany several times to support a New York State initiative to raise awareness among young men and women about breast cancer - know your body and advocate for yourself, be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and understand how to perform a breast self-exam. She tells her story about being diagnosed at such a young age to help raise awareness that breast cancer can and does affect young people.

Jennifer walked the runway in a fashion show, while she was going through treatment, last year to help raise money for breast cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

After having a double mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, and several scans, I was told that the cancer had already spread to my L2 spine and right hip. It was Metastatic, meaning it had spread beyond the breast....Stage IV. I became involved with Living Beyond Breast Cancer once I found out my cancer was Metastatic. LBBC has a program called "Hear My Voice", which trains those with MBC (Metastatic Breast Cancer) to become advocates, spreading awareness on MBC.

I am 39 years old, single, and no kids. My dog, Dink, is my everything! Ironically, he was diagnosed with Intestinal Lymphoma last year, just prior to a mission trip I was taking to volunteer helping children in Peru. I had raised all of the funds to go and had to cancel last minute, to be there for my baby when he started his chemo. Since then, I've been doing a lot of introspection. I speak out on my disease as often as I can. Statistics say my median life span is 3 years. I don't follow statistics...never have! I am no longer working but, instead, I am living my dash, grateful for every breath. This is my NEW NORMAL. THIS is Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer, and by the time she was diagnosed, her cancer had reached only one lymph node. Because of her age, she may not have made a mammogram appointment for months after turning 40--the age that the American Cancer Society recommends women start considering regular mammograms. That's why she's become an advocate for self-exams and early detection. Prior to her diagnosis, Kelly ran four miles and did 24 push-ups every day. Her first half-marathon was in 2016, and she cut her time by more than 30 minutes by the time she ran the 2017 marathon. Her surgery in March 2018 to remove her left breast and four lymph nodes meant a break of six months from running, which drove Kelly crazy.

She pushed through chemotherapy treatments to be ready to run again in October, for the "Fight Like Kelly 5K," organized by friends who wanted to show their support, honor her fight and promote awareness of early detection for young women.

The race raised more than $14,000 for A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based breast cancer foundation dedicated to supporting breast cancer patients and their loved ones, especially through supporting studies in premenopausal breast cancer, as breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive.

Kelly continues to be an advocate for the cause and has inspired countless others through her strength and courage in the face of an unexpected and terrifying diagnosis.

She has raised more than $100,000 for Susan G. Komen® San Diego to support the organization's mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in San Diego County and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.  

"In addition to being the current Chair of our Board of Directors, Merrilee Neal has been our Race for the Cure Chair, a Top Fundraiser and our Survivor champion," said Shaina Gross, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen San Diego. "I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that Merrilee bleeds pink. When we talk about what it means to be More Than Pink we could just point to Merrilee."

Merrilee graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is a 2013 graduate of LEAD San Diego and holds certificates in public speaking and non-profit management. She and her husband, Mike, have been married for 33 years and have two grown children, Brandon and Katie. Active philanthropists, Merrilee and Mike, have a heart for giving back to charitable organizations throughout San Diego. Her personal interests include travel, arts and culture, as well as biking, walking, practicing yoga and playing water sports.

Ellen and her husband, Mike, had a baseball-themed wedding 30 years ago, where the bridal party represented the two in Tigers and Giants caps. She's excited to represent her National League team, the Giants, as their 2019 Honorary Bat Girl. Ellen was diagnosed with a fast-growing, non-invasive DCIS in 2005, when she was 44.5 years old. The spot was caught in a routine mammogram, during a second look by her radiologist brother-in-law, who lived in Massachusetts. With a family history of breast cancer on both sides, she routinely had him take another look at her films. Due to her age, history, and Ashkenazy Jewish background, it was recommended that she test for the BRCA mutation. After her lumpectomy and partial-breast radiation, she had genetic testing done at UCSF. Sure enough, she was found to be BRCA 1 positive, greatly increasing her risk for female cancers. Just after her 45th birthday, she had her ovaries, uterus and cervix removed, prophylactically.

At age 44.5 years old, she had her next mammogram. There was another DCIS spot in a different part of the same breast. After another lumpectomy, her case was brought before a tumor board. There was unanimous agreement that she have bilateral mastectomies as a preventive measure. She was the last to get on board, but realized that some of her body parts had outlived their usefulness. Just before her 46th birthday, her wonderful surgeon, Dr. Lisa Bailey performed this surgery. Two months later, Dr. Gabriel Kind, of UCSF, performed her reconstruction. After 20 months and seven surgeries, her job became helping others get the quality of care she received. That is when she started increasing her efforts with Komen. Due to the great generosity of those in her circle, she raised more than $8,000 for Komen last Fall.

The diagnosis came on the heels of losing two very important people, my 34-year old cousin and my boyfriend's 51-year old brother, which left me reeling. When first diagnosed, I found it difficult to talk about the fact that I had cancer. Breast cancer wasn't foreign to me, as my mother was a two-time survivor, having been first diagnosed in 2000. But I had a hard time comprehending that I had the disease. With time, and through the support of my family, friends and organizations like Komen, I began to open up and share. I found it helped me talk with others who were diagnosed with and survived breast cancer. That experience inspired me to support others. While I began walking in the Komen Race when my mother was first diagnosed, it took on more meaning after my own diagnosis. I went through chemotherapy. My last treatment was on a Friday and the next morning I took part in the Komen Race. It was an incredibly hot day and I didn't want to go, but friends and family had created a team called the Elaine Train, so I knew I had to be there. Today I am a 12-year survivor and continue to support Komen in every possible way. I have taken part in trivia nights, and for the past nine years, have been a part of the Cardinals Race Team. I wouldn't wish cancer upon anyone, but I am grateful for the incredible friendships I have made during my journey.

The mother of two, and a grandmother of two, was stunned when the physicians found "something that just didn't look right" during her routine mammogram. She had a second mammogram and a biopsy, which is when it was discovered. On July 3, 2018, Tish was diagnosed with stage 0/1 breast cancer. The first in her family to be diagnosed, it made her weak in the knees. Tish had always thought that breast cancer was a lump, but quickly learned that it isn't. She had calcifications, which looked like granules of sugar. After three opinions and a lot of prayer, she decided to have a mastectomy. On September 27, 2018, she underwent surgery and on October 2, she received a call from her breast surgeon informing her that she was cancer-free and that there was no need for chemotherapy or radiation.

LaTishia said, "This has made me a stronger person and stronger in my faith. I am going to use my story to help someone that may need a hand to hold or an ear to listen. I never would have made it through this without the words of encouragement, love and prayers of my friends and family."