Brewers Honorary Bat Girl spreads hope

Brewers Honorary Bat Girl spreads hope

MILWAUKEE -- Terry Porter stepped to the mound on Sunday and threw a strike for hope.

Porter is a breast cancer survivor selected to be the Brewers Honorary Bat Girl on Sunday, when survivors and family members of those affected by cancer threw ceremonial first pitches across Major League Baseball. Porter was diagnosed just before Christmas in 2010.

Seventeen months later, she was on the field at Miller Park with family and friends cheering and tearing up in the stands.

"You need to believe and have hope," Porter said, "because you can kick it."

Among her supporters on Sunday was her husband, John, and family friend Joe Trawitzki, who nominated Porter for the MLB program. He called her "as a symbol of strength and courage for her friends and family."

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Porter didn't know he had submitted her name until after she won.

"When she went through this, it was amazing to see someone so positive," Trawitzki said. "I'm sure she was scared and there was anger, but she never let it show. She kept the family positive. There was always a smile on her face. Then, she took it to the community and [they] really rallied."

Porter organized a group of about 35 for last year's Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure, an event that included Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and his wife, Ellen.

She also encourages her friends to wear pink to raise awareness of breast cancer.

"She doesn't even realize what she does," Trawitzki said. "It's so cool to see."

The guest judging panel that helped select the 30 honorary bat girls included Joe Blanton of the Phillies, whose mom is a breast cancer survivor; Jason Heyward of the Braves, whose aunt passed away from lung cancer; Howie Kendrick of the Angels, whose best friend's mom is a breast cancer survivor; and Barry Zito of the Giants, whose mom was affected by cancer.

"It's very humbling, and I'm honored," Porter said, her eyes welling with tears. "You just try to make people around you feel better, because cancer is a scary word. You tell people, 'It's OK. You'll get through this.'"

The Honorary Bat Girl Contest was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for MLB's annual Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative. Along with MLB licensed partners and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, MLB raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, and authentic, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit cancer research.

To learn more about Major League Baseball's charitable initiatives visit MLBCommunity.org.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.