A 32-year old Renton woman who is fighting breast cancer that has spread to her lungs and brain is the Seattle Mariners 2013 Honorary Bat Girl.
Kimberly Fugere was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer two years ago, just one year after losing her mother to cancer. On Sunday, May 12, Fugere will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners vs. Oakland A's game. She will sport a personalized pink Mariners jersey, courtesy of Majestic.
Fugere was chosen for the honor based on a touching nomination from her father, Jim Greenman. He wrote that Kimberly had a tough start in life after suffering an intrauteral stroke. She was born with brain damage and cerebral palsy, and doctors told her parents that Kimberly would never walk and should be institutionalized.
Today, Kimberly is a college graduate, married mother of two. She is also fighting for her life. Fugere has a family history of cancer. Her great grandfather, grandmother, aunt and mother all died of cancer. Fugere not only carries the breast cancer gene, she shares with her mother's family a rare genetic disorder that makes it difficult for her body to fight cancer.
Since her diagnosis in 2011, Fugere has undergone treatment at Valley Medical Center in South King County and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. Two months ago, she underwent brain surgery. Still, Fugere maintains a positive outlook and is focusing on getting well and being a mom to her two children, ages six and three.
The annual Honorary Bat Girl Contest recognizes 30 baseball fans, one for each Major League team, who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
Winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a Guest Judging Panel that included CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals, Maria Menounos of Extra TV and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
Louisville Slugger, the official bat of MLB, will introduce a new design element to their iconic pink bats that are used by hundreds of players throughout the League on Mother's Day. The hot pink color was introduced in 2012 and this year, it will include the new Louisville Slugger logo, which changed on MLB's Opening Day, marking the bat maker's first logo change in 33-years and only the second significant change in its 129 years in professional baseball. Louisville Slugger and MLB first introduced the pink bat program on Mother's Day in 2006. Fans can obtain their own personalized pink bat at shop.mlb.com or sluggergifts.com. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.
To further demonstrate their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink.
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 four years, over 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than 10 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, a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This initiative has set out to raise awareness about the breast cancer cause and funds to support life-saving breast cancer research.