Reds to honor Honorary Bat Girl Rupert on Monday

Contest winner vows not to be a statistic in fight against breast cancer

Reds to honor Honorary Bat Girl Rupert on Monday

CHICAGO -- With the Reds on the road on Mother's Day Sunday to complete an 11-day road trip, they will honor their 2015 Honorary Bat Girl on Monday instead at Great American Ball Park.

Melissa Rupert from Liberty Township, Ohio, is the winner of Reds' Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease. Rupert will be recognized on the field during pregame ceremonies before the Reds play the Braves at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Here is an excerpt from Rupert's winning submission to HonoraryBatGirl.com:

"I'll never forget how I felt when I found the 'lump' in my right breast. After being told that I have Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer, I remind myself every day that I am not a statistic. I am me. My outcome will be my outcome. My story is mine, and I am not a number. So here I am. A new mom, a business owner and an avid volunteer. I don't have time to think about the 'what ifs.' There is no alternative. I'm in it to win it. I had my first round of chemotherapy a couple of weeks ago. When I started losing my hair, I picked up the razor and shaved. And every day, I hold my baby boy as tightly as he'll let me and remind myself that he is my rock and my joy."

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. It is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.