Cleveland Indians announce 2016 Honorary Bat Girl
Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2016 Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease. Winners have been selected to represent each of the 30 MLB Clubs and will be recognized on-field at Major League ballparks on Sunday, Mother's Day.
Fans from across the United States and in Canada shared inspirational stories of hope and motivation in their experiences in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they, or their nominees, should represent their favorite team.
Eva Johnson was selected as the Indians Honorary Bat Girl and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday. A Tampa, Fla., native, Johnson's family originally hails from Cleveland and she's been a lifelong Tribe fan.
Johnson, who has been cancer-free for the past three years, was nominated by her sister, who refers to Johnson as her hero. In August 2013, Johnson was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer at age 30.
For the past three years Johnson never looked back or backed down from her battle. Johnson braved a double mastectomy, multiple weeks of radiation and a few reconstructive surgeries. During this process, Johnson has inspired many and continues to encourage others battling cancer. This Sunday, Johnson will celebrate Mother's Day as the mother of a 6-year-old son.
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 eight years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 3 million fan votes have been cast. 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. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.