In coordination with Major League Baseball, the White Sox announced breast cancer survivor and Chicago resident Shaika Ocampo as the 2017 Honorary Bat Girl, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
Ocampo, a Chicago police officer and lifelong White Sox fan, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday, May 14, when the White Sox take on the San Diego Padres at 1:10 p.m. The Dunning-neighborhood resident was first diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2015 and battled her way to remission as of July 2016. The cancer re-surfaced in December 2016, when she discovered a lump on the left side of her chest. She has since endured a bilateral mastectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy and 28 sessions of radiation. Ocampo's positive attitude shines in her dedication to her family and her work with the American Cancer Society in an effort to give others hope.
"Honestly, it is my dream come true," said Ocampo. "You always talk about the things I would love to do in life, like bungee jump or skydive. But, one of the things that has always been on my list is to throw the first pitch at the White Sox. I am throwing the first pitch at the White Sox game, and never in a million years would I have thought that. Dreams really do come true, and that what this is for me."
"The White Sox look forward to welcoming Shaika and her family members to Guaranteed Rate Field on Mother's Day this Sunday," said Christine O'Reilly, White Sox vice president of community relations. "Shaika has turned her personal battle with breast cancer into an advocacy and support role for others battling the disease. We are excited to celebrate Shaika's continued efforts to help find a cure for breast cancer when we welcome her at the ballpark - a place she holds dear in her heart."
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 three 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.
On Mother's Day, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wristbands. Players also will wear specially designed uniforms that incorporate pink into the clubs' regular logos. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Games will feature a pink-stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game ball. Many MLB players also will use pink bats, and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many authenticated, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com/auction to benefit the fight against breast cancer.