LOS ANGELES- Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2014 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which recognized baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate commitment to eradicating the disease. The winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Los Angeles Dodgers is Isela Diaz and she will be recognized on-field on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11.
Diaz is one of 31 Honorary Bat Girl winners who will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony, and receive pink MLB merchandise and tickets to the game for her family. Nominated by her daughter, Mailee Diaz, Isela was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer on October 8, 2013. Since then she has undergone a mastectomy, a second surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes and chemotherapy. Just last week, Isela also completed radiation treatments that had been delayed due to another surgery for precancerous signs in her colon.
A lifelong Dodger fan, Isela remains optimistic and fights a good fight every day, drawing inspiration from both her mother and older sister, who are also breast cancer survivors. She has not let this battle defeat her and continues to do things that doctors told her she would not be able to do. She stays active by going on 20-mile bike rides, attending family functions, exercising, and living her life to the fullest, despite her situation.
Fans from across the country and Canada shared inspirational stories that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they or their nominees should represent their favorite team. The 31 Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com, along with feedback from a Guest Judging Panel that included Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, country music superstar and Atlanta Braves fan Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
Players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands on Sunday. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink. Games will use a pink stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game day baseball. Numerous MLB players will use pink bats and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of MLB, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit the fight 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. In five years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 4 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a MLB initiative supported by its 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.