DENVER -- Amelia Lehman has been a Rockies fan since the club's inception in 1993, even though she grew up in Tennessee.On Sunday, she was celebrating Mother's Day with her husband and two boys at Coors Field. It was the first time she had ever been to a Rockies game
DENVER -- Amelia Lehman has been a Rockies fan since the club's inception in 1993, even though she grew up in Tennessee.
On Sunday, she was celebrating Mother's Day with her husband and two boys at Coors Field. It was the first time she had ever been to a Rockies game in person. But that's not the primary reason this day was so meaningful.
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Lehman was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2009. She battled it, with two surgeries, eight rounds of intensive chemotherapy and six weeks of daily radiation. The cancer was gone, and Lehman and her family rejoiced.
But five years later, the cancer returned, more aggressive than before, metastasizing to her bones. She has picked up the fight, determined to be a strong and courageous role model for her sons.
Baseball has been an integral part of life for the Lehmans, and served as a welcome distraction from the day-to-day cancer battle Amelia and her family have been waging. On Sunday, that battle came to Coors Field, where Lehman, one of the winners of Major League Baseball's 2017 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which recognizes fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease, was honored.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges, including several MLB players, who chose the winning submissions based on the quality of writing and description of personal connection to breast cancer, demonstration of commitment to the battle against the disease and public appeal (as determined by online fan votes).
"It's an amazing opportunity. I'm humbled and honored that I was selected among the other completely wonderful applicants," Lehman said. "I'm grateful that I'm able to share it with my two boys and my husband, which means more to me than anything, especially on Mother's Day.
"There are days that I don't know if I would make it through if it wasn't for them."
The Honorary Bat Girl Contest began in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for MLB's 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.
"I think Major League Baseball is a wonderful platform to launch breast cancer awareness from," said Lehman. "I'm grateful to MLB for giving us this opportunity. I think this is probably something we'll probably remember for a lifetime."
Though she's never had a favorite Rockies player among the many she's cheered on over the years, Lehman feels a special connection with pitcher Chad Bettis, who has also been battling cancer.
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"I kind of feel a little bit of a kindred spirit with Chad, with his cancer battle." she said.
As Bettis has done, Lehman is providing inspiration and hope for those battling cancer everywhere. You can read more about her and the other winners of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest at HonoraryBatGirl.com.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.