02/14/2011 11:33 AM ET
Major League Baseball opens Honorary Bat Girl Contest inviting fans to share their "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" stories
Celebrity judging panel features Mrs. Billye Aaron, Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder Nancy G. Brinker, actress Gabrielle Union, MLB All-Stars and Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman; submission entry period for chance to be honored on-field during Mother's Day celebrations open now through April 14 at honorarybatgirl.com
Major League Baseball® and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world's largest breast cancer organization, today launched the 2011 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, a campaign to recognize baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and have demonstrated a commitment to eradicating the disease. Starting today, Pirates fans ages 18 and older can go online at www.honorarybatgirl.com to share inspirational stories about themselves or loved ones who are "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer."
During MLB's annual Mother's Day national day of recognition, one Honorary Bat Girl per MLB Club will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony and receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. For Clubs that are away on Mother's Day, another home game in May will be selected to recognize its Honorary Bat Girl. Entries may be submitted beginning today at www.honorarybatgirl.com, a Web site powered by MLB.com, and will be accepted until the submission period closes on Thursday, April 14.
A celebrity panel of judges will help select the winning submissions based on the following criteria: originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to breast cancer awareness and public appeal as determined by online fan votes. Celebrity judges for this year's contest include Mrs. Billye Aaron, breast cancer survivor, Komen Global Ambassador for breast cancer and wife of Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron; Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Gabrielle Union, actress and supporter of the cause; Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox All-Star Pitcher and lymphoma survivor; Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim All-Star Pitcher whose mother is a breast cancer survivor; Jim Thome, Five-time All-Star and Minnesota Twins Designated Hitter whose mother passed away from lung cancer; Suzyn Waldman, New York Yankees radio broadcaster and breast cancer survivor; and Mitch Williams, MLB Network analyst whose late mother had breast cancer.
During the nine-week online submission period, fans can share stories of inspiration and hope, how they or loved ones are supporting the fight against breast cancer and why they want to be an Honorary Bat Girl for their favorite MLB Club. Testimonials can be submitted by breast cancer survivors, advocates and supporters of the cause.
"Through the Honorary Bat Girl contest, Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs highlight Mother's Day and allow fans to share inspirational stories about making an impact on breast cancer, a disease that affects millions of American families each year," said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball. "We are honored to once again partner with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in our ongoing commitment to find a cure for breast cancer."
"For seven years, Major League Baseball has been an invaluable partner to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, helping raise vital funds and awareness for breast cancer all over the nation," said Katrina McGhee, Komen's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "In this third year of the Honorary Bat Girl contest, MLB continues to go above and beyond, showcasing personal stories and highlighting what the Komen family is all about-improving and saving lives."
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. In two years, nearly 2,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than six million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a joint partnership between MLB, its licensed partners and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.
"My experience as an Honorary Dodger Bat Girl is one that my family and I will always cherish," said Julie C. Garfinkel, 2009 Honorary Bat Girl for the Los Angeles Dodgers. "The highlight of the day was taking the field with so many survivors. It is a Mother's Day I will always remember. I commend Major League Baseball for its commitment to bringing awareness to this deadly disease and raising funds for a cure."
On Mother's Day (May 8), hundreds of MLB players are expected to use pink bats by Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. To further demonstrate their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com at a later date to raise additional funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Major League Baseball Health Initiatives
The Mother's Day Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer program is one of several cancer-related initiatives supported by Major League Baseball. Other initiatives include Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), whose mission is to support the groundbreaking scientific research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated timeframe; the annual Father's Day celebration, in support of Prostate Cancer Foundation, which helps increase awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for the search for a cure; and Play Sun Smart, a league-wide, skin cancer awareness program in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association and the American Academy of Dermatology.
About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested nearly $1.5 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.