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Cancer survivor honored by Cubs at Wrigley

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Sunday was a special day for Kristin Root, who celebrated being cancer free with her parents and husband, Jonathan, at Wrigley Field.

Two weeks before her 36th birthday, Kristin was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was undergoing testing for possible in vitro fertilization and found a lump on the right side of her breast.

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CHICAGO -- Sunday was a special day for Kristin Root, who celebrated being cancer free with her parents and husband, Jonathan, at Wrigley Field.

Two weeks before her 36th birthday, Kristin was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was undergoing testing for possible in vitro fertilization and found a lump on the right side of her breast.

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"The ironic thing is I went for a mammogram, it was two weeks before my 36th birthday and the lump was nothing," Root said. "I had breast cancer on the other side. Thank God, my doctor found that lump."

The director of the health department for the Village of Rosemont and a nurse, Root, 37, opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Last August, she finished four rounds of chemotherapy.

On Sunday, Root was honored as the Cubs' Honorary Bat Girl, part of Major League Baseball's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. Her parents, Donald and Sandee Greene, and her husband also were on the field to hold a giant-sized pink ribbon during the singing of "God Bless America" and the national anthem. Kristin delivered the lineup card with first-base coach Will Venable prior to the game.

"It's so cool -- my mom is here with me and doing the ribbon on the field and my dad and my husband," Kristin said. "It's a really nice day to celebrate."

Tweet from @Cubs: Welcome breast cancer survivors, fighters and their families spending #MothersDay at Wrigley Field. #PinkOut pic.twitter.com/xnRV8zzhQ8

Cubs and White Sox players wore pink caps, pink ribbons on their jerseys and pink socks, and some opted for pink bats and batting gloves as part of MLB's efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Louisville Slugger will donate proceeds from the sale of its pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. MLB will again donate its licensed uniform royalties through Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer, which is celebrating its 10th season.

There was plenty of pink at Wrigley Field, as the first 5,000 bleacher fans received pink T-shirts presented by Advocate Health Care.

Cubs Mother's Day gear

Advocate and the Cubs also invited Chicago Public School teacher Vandana Suthar Patel, 32, to the game. The mother of a 2-year-old daughter, Patel still has one more chemotherapy treatment to go, and it's scheduled for this coming week.

"The most important thing I want to tell others is to make sure regular doctors' appointments are made and kept," Patel said. "I have a friend who never used to go to the doctor. Ever since my diagnosis, she has scheduled all her screenings and kept her appointments. If I can make a difference in one person's life, that's reason enough for me to share my story."

Tweet from @Cubs: Play ball! #EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/2M4yaKGTRu

Getting tested is key. Root had gone for a routine exam.

"It was a legit fluke," Root said. "By the time I would've been 40, I would've been in really bad shape with kids and the whole dynamic would've changed. I'm really lucky and fortunate at how this worked out.

"They changed the protocol at Advocate now," Root said. "Anybody who goes to Advocate for in vitro, 35 or older, will require a mammograam if you score on this test. They're changing protocol because of my situation, which makes me so proud. That's such an honor. They took such great care of me."

So, is she a Cubs fan?

"I'm a Chicago fan, but how can you not love the Cubs?" Root said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

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