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TON -- Cathy Holt's fourth visit to Fenway Park in her 49 years saw her sit in the Red Sox dugout for the first time, and with her 5-year-old grandson Nathan Moody by her side, her excitement boiled over.
"This is awesome, buddy!" said Holt, who has an ankle tattoo dedicated to the Red Sox's 2004 and '07 titles. "This little guy is what got me through it all."
Holt, from Litchfield, Me., was the Red Sox's Honorary Bat Girl on Mother's Day Sunday, as one of 30 women being recognized by Major League Baseball for their fight with breast cancer and their commitment to find a cure. She was honored on the field before the Red Sox played the Indians in an afternoon game, in front of another Fenway sell-out crowd on a fantastic, sunny day.
"The history in this park, knowing that Babe Ruth played here and Ted Williams, just blows my mind." Holt said. "I'm so honored. I'm honored."
There with Holt were her husband of nearly 12 years, Brian, daughter Megan Moody, son-in-law Darin Moody and 2-year-old granddaughter Natalie Moody. Three and a half years ago, in November 2008, Holt was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Went for an annual mammogram, I got a call back like the next day, they asked me, told me that they saw something on it," Holt said. "They wanted me to go for a biopsy."
The feeling of the unknown was stunning.
"Can't even tell you," she said. "Kind of almost numb, you kind of go through the motions, but you can't process what's going on. When I had the biopsy, I kind of knew, at first they were going to just do a lumpectomy on me, and she told me 'Let's do an MRI to make sure.' And they found three more spots."
What has followed have been extensive treatments and surgeries, including four rounds of chemotherapy. Holt wears a sleeve on her left arm because of lymph nodes that need to be removed.
"And now I'm battling lymphedema. This is for life," Holt said. "There's not a day that goes by you don't think about it."
To help others, Holt and her family has helped raise close to $4,000 for causes such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer as well as the annual Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.
"The community outreach for me was just so touching, that's why I started doing Relay for Life," Holt said. "My whole family does it with me every year."
The Honorary Bat Girls were selected by a a guest panel of judges that includes players and celebrities -- including former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra - and fans voted at HonoraryBatGirl.com.
Holt's daughter, Megan, wrote in support of Holt, and that alone was incredibly touching for her.
"I actually thought I had a good chance, because I read her letter, just getting through the first line," Holt said. "She started the letter off, 'My hero and my best friend, my mom.' Such an honor."