Tigers' Honorary Bat Girl fighting breast cancer

DETROIT -- Penny Russell, a New Boston, Mich., native who is in the middle of her battle with breast cancer after being diagnosed last fall, will receive a boost of support from the Tigers. She'll be honored on Mother's Day as the local winner of Major League Baseball's Honorary Bat Girl Contest.

The Tigers host the Rangers on Mother's Day in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Comerica Park. It will be the Tigers' fifth annual Pink Out the Park event, encouraging fans to wear pink to the game. The first 10,000 moms in attendance will receive a pink visor.

MLB unveils Honorary Bat Girl winners

The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise awareness and support for MLB's annual Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative each Mother's Day. A panel of judges selected winners for each club from a field of submissions. Winners are honored on the field before the game, take part in activities and receive pink MLB merchandise with tickets to the game.

Russell was diagnosed with breast cancer last November and has been undergoing chemotherapy every few weeks. She had a severe reaction to the first round and has been in and out of hospitals since. After undergoing surgery for a failing gallbladder, she's now undergoing her fifth of six rounds of chemo, while her husband, Mike, supports her and their three children.

Russell was nominated by a friend.

"It has been a rough road so far for this wonderful woman, but I know there is light at the end of the tunnel," the friend wrote. "I want to help her have some fun along the way, and this would be just a special memory amongst the tough ones!"

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.