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Lester lends support to a great cause

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 14, 2011 01:42 PM

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ribbon.jpgRed Sox pitcher Jon Lester, a cancer survivor, will help select honorary bat girls as part of Major League Baseball's initiative to recognize fans who have been affected by breast cancer and have demonstrated a commitment to eradicating the disease.

The effort is being coordinated with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

Starting today, Red Sox fans ages 18 and older can go online at www.honorarybatgirl.com to share inspirational stories about themselves or loved ones.

During MLB’s annual Mother’s Day national day of recognition, one honorary bat girl representing the Red Sox will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony at Fenway Park, and receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.

Entries may be submitted beginning today at www.honorarybatgirl.com and will be accepted until April 14.

A celebrity panel of judges will help select the winning submissions based on the following criteria: originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to breast cancer awareness, and public appeal as determined by online fan votes.

The judges are:

• Lester, a lymphoma survivor
• Gabrielle Union, actress and supporter of the cause
• Mrs. Billye Aaron, breast cancer survivor, Komen Global Ambassador for breast cancer and wife of Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron
• Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure;
• Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim All-Star pitcher whose mother is a breast cancer survivor
• Jim Thome, five-time All-Star and Minnesota Twins DH whose mother passed away from lung cancer
• Suzyn Waldman, New York Yankees radio broadcaster and breast cancer survivor
• Mitch Williams, MLB Network analyst whose late mother had breast cancer.

During the nine-week online submission period, fans can share stories of inspiration and hope, how they or loved ones are supporting the fight against breast cancer, and why they want to be an honorary batgirl for their favorite MLB club. Testimonials can be submitted by breast cancer survivors, advocates, and supporters of the cause.

On Mother’s Day (May 8), hundreds of MLB players are expected to use pink bats by Louisville Slugger stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. 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 dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother’s Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com at a later date to raise additional funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

John Lackey told WEEI.com today that his wife, Krista, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November and has been receiving treatments. Her prognosis is good.

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