Washington Nationals to recognize 2017 Honorary Bat Girl contest winner on Mother's Day

Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2017 Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and have demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease. This year's Honorary Bat Girl for the Washington Nationals is Melissa Green of Arlington, Va. She will be honored during the pregame ceremony before the team plays the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, May 14 at 1:35 p.m. For a Q&A with our 2017 Honorary Bat Girl, visit www.curlyw.mlblogs.com.

The daughter of a breast and uterine cancer survivor, Melissa knew even before her own experience started how difficult the path to recovery would be. Melissa was diagnosed with Stage 2 Triple Negative breast cancer in October 2014, and endured 16 rounds of chemo over the course of five months, as well as a double mastectomy and two separate breast reconstruction surgeries in 2015 and 2016. Melissa credits her mother (now nine years breast cancer-free), who drove countless hours to care for her after her surgeries and other procedures, for helping her through treatment. Her father, sister, nieces, brother-in-law and numerous friends were also instrumental in supporting her during her fight to become cancer-free. In each of the past two years, Melissa has held a Tackle Breast Cancer fundraiser with the D.C. alumni chapter of her alma mater, the University of South Carolina. The funds have benefited local organizations including the Casting for Recovery's Mid‐Atlantic Chapter, Life with Cancer and the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation. We are happy to report that Melissa is now two years cancer-free.
 
During the 2017 Honorary Bat Girl contest entry timeline, fans from across the United States and Canada shared how they, or their loved ones, support the cause to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. The winners were selected by a panel of judges, including special guests, who chose the winning submissions based on the following criteria: quality of writing and description of personal connection to breast cancer, demonstration of commitment to the battle against the disease and public appeal (as determined by online fan votes).
 
Special guests judges included the following: Uzo Aduba, Emmy Award-winning star of the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) ambassador, Brenda Song, star of CBS drama Pure Genius and SU2C ambassador, as well as breast cancer survivors Holly Rowe and Shelley Smith of ESPN, MLB Network's Kelly Nash and Chris Rose, and Lindsay Berra and Alyson Footer of MLB.com.
 
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 nine years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and millions of 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.
 
For the first time, MLB players will have the opportunity to use pink bats on both Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 of Mother's Day weekend. Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. Authenticated, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats and other pink items from Mother's Day weekend games also will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com/auction to benefit the fight against breast cancer.  
 
On Mother's Day weekend, players and on-field personnel also will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wristbands. Players will wear specially-designed uniforms that incorporate pink into the Clubs' regular logos as well as caps highlighted by a graphite crown and pink visor and options from two different pairs of pink-infused socks. MLB will again donate its licensed uniform royalties to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Mother's Day games will feature a pink-stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game ball. In addition to the pink bats throughout Mother's Day weekend, the following game equipment can be used for breast cancer awareness: pink compression sleeves, pink batting gloves, pink footwear, pink wrist/elbow/leg guards and catcher's equipment. 
 
For more information, please visit HonoraryBatGirl.com.