Graham woman is Seattle Mariners 2014 honorary bat girl winner

A Pierce County woman who says "it's nothing short of a miracle" that her breast cancer was detected early has been named the Seattle Mariners Honorary Bat Girl for 2014. Donna Person-Smith will be recognized during a special pregame ceremony on Sunday, May 11, before the Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals game (1:10pm start).

Person-Smith received the diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer three years ago at the age of 43. Despite regular mammograms, she says the cancer was not detected until she had tissue tested after breast reduction surgery. Person-Smith underwent a double mastectomy and continues to take daily doses of tamoxifen, a treatment that helps prevent the recurrence of cancer by blocking estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells.

A few months after Person-Smith was diagnosed, her mother, Carla Person, was found to have an aggressive form of breast cancer. After surgeries and a year of chemotherapy, Person-Smith says her mother is also healthy.

Person-Smith credits their excellent results and good prognoses to early detection. "I was very, very lucky to have my cancer detected at Stage 1. I want others to know that a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence but merely bump in the road," said Person-Smith.

Person-Smith also says "I was blessed with a phenomenal team of doctors at Virginia Mason in Seattle."

Fans from across the country and Canada shared inspirational stories that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer. The Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on along with feedback from a guest judging panel that included Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, country music superstar and Atlanta Braves fan Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.

On May 11, Mariners and Royals players and on-field personnel will wear symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink. All MLB games played that day will use pink stitched Rawlings baseballs, the official ball of MLB. Numerous MLB players will use pink bats and special pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many of the game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on to benefit the fight against breast cancer.

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 five years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than four million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its 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.