Major League Baseball has announced the 2019 Honorary Bat Girls for each MLB Club in support of the annual “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative, which is traditionally commemorated each Mother’s Day. Clubs had the opportunity to hand-select their respective honorees, each of whom demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the battle against breast cancer. The Honorary Bat Girl for the Giants is Ellen Shaler who resides in Oakland. On Sunday, May 12 the Giants will honor Shaler during a homeplate ceremony and will pay tribute to breast cancer survivors throughout the game.
Ellen is a wife, sister, aunt, daughter, friend and educator. She's a native Detroiter who grew up loving Tiger baseball. 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.
Diagnosed with a fast-growing, non-invasive DCIS in 2005, when she was 44 and a half, the spot was caught in a routine mammogram, during a second-look by her radiologist brother-in-law. With a family history of breast cancer on both sides, Ellen 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 45 and a half, 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 have access to 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 over $8,000 for Komen last fall.
For the first time since the Honorary Bat Girl program’s inception in 2009, MLB has partnered with CrowdRise to host a fundraising contest for each of the Honorary Bat Girls to raise money to benefit Stand up to Cancer (SU2C) and Susan G. Komen. The winner of the contest will receive a trip to the 2019 World Series. MLB will donate all funds from the contest to SU2C and Komen.
As has been tradition since 2006, players will continue to swing pink bats and sport pink wristbands through the “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative, which is intended to raise awareness and, through donations and auction proceeds, funds to fight breast cancer. In recognition of this effort on Mother’s Day, players also will wear specially designed New Era caps highlighted by a pink crown and team color brim, while Club uniforms will feature the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, adorned with the symbolic pink ribbon, on the left chest. A matching pair of pink socks made by Stance is optional for every player. MLB players will continue to have the opportunity to use pink bats during Mother’s Day games. Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will also be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Komen and SU2C. In addition to the pink bats on Mother’s Day, the following game equipment can be used for breast cancer awareness: compression sleeves, batting gloves, footwear, wrist/elbow/leg guards, and catcher’s equipment. The pink ribbon will also appear on the bases at each ballpark and the official dugout lineup cards. MLB will donate 100% of its royalties from sales of licensed apparel with the MLB pink ribbon logo to Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen.
About Honorary Bat Girl Program & “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer”
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research. For more information, please visit HonoraryBatGirl.com.