Culture & Criticism Since 2003
For the San Francisco Giants and all other Major League Baseball teams, Sunday will be about more than Mother’s Day. In addition to celebrating mom’s presence in our lives, fans will also have the chance to to focus on women’s health – or more specifically, on breast cancer awareness during MLB’s “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer.”
Every year, as part of Mother’s Day festivities in ballparks throughout the country, hitters grab pink bats and pull on pink wristbands. This temporary change in team colors is all a joint effort by baseball players to shine a distinct spotlight on a disease that continues to plague women, blunting the profound strides medicine has made in both detection and treatment during the last 20 years.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is “the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity [and] the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.” In addition, the CDC notes that breast cancer is “the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.”
These statistics compiled by government researchers should alarm you, raising you from your chair. Even though medicine has made advancements in combating breast cancer, the death count says there is still much more to do, with women of all ages in the throes of the real-time risk of developing a breast tumor. In turn, MLB uses Mother’s Day as the platform for fans to assemble to gather information, offering those who can afford it an opportunity to donate dollars to further research projects.
At Oracle Park, Ellen Shaler of Oakland will serve as this year’s Honorary Bat Girl* when the Giants take the field for their May 12 date with the Cincinnati Reds. Shaler, who grew up in Detroit with a history of breast cancer in her family, was diagnosed with the disease in 2005. Seven surgeries later, she rises as a survivor in every sense of the word. Moreover, she brings forward a mission to open up eyes and educate women and their families about things they likely don’t want to discuss.
Admittedly – this is scary stuff. And I see that no one wants to think about the prospect of cancer. But it can and does happen to people just like us. Because of this fact, MLB has taken it upon itself to bring people together at the ball yard on Mother’s Day. It’s all about taking a moment and thinking about a disease that likely will make its way into your living room at some point in the future.
Accordingly, what we do today in terms of funding medical research on the question of why some women’s bodies revolt and turn cancerous will probably be the determining factor on whether your wife or mother survives the disease tomorrow.
*According to the Giants, 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 annually on Mother’s Day. “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 is meant to foster awareness about the breast cancer cause, while simultaneously raising funds to support breast cancer research. For more information, keep an eye on the brand new Oracle scoreboard Sunday, or go to HonoraryBatGirl.com.