Mariners Honorary Bat Girl
The Mariners Honorary Bat Girl Kathleen Sutton was nervous about throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s game. But her softball skills kicked in and she threw a strike that nipped the outside corner and landed in catcher Taijuan Walker’s glove.
Sutton was accompanied to the mound by her husband Mike and their five and a half-month old baby boy Spencer.
Sutton was six months pregnant with Spencer when she found out that she has inflammatory breast cancer, which is rare and aggressive. Because she was pregnant, Kathleen was only able to have one round of chemotherapy. About six weeks after her diagnosis, Spencer was born, healthy and with a full head of hair. By then, Sutton had learned that her cancer had spread to her liver and bones. Since then, she has undergone weekly chemo treatments with baby Spencer in tow.
Kathleen is one of 30 Honorary Bat Girls, a program introduced by Major League Baseball in 2009 to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research.
During the Mother’s Day game at Safeco Field, Mariners and Oakland A’s players wore pink spikes, undershirts, wristbands, and played with special game balls with pink stitching. Several players even used special pink Louisville Slugger bats with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many of the bats will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit the fight against breast cancer.
Kathleen hopes her story will help raise awareness of her rare cancer.
“If I had heard about inflammatory breast cancer and its symptoms before, I would have gotten it checked out sooner and caught it before it became Stage 4. Everyone thinks breast cancer and thinks to look for lumps, but there are no lumps with inflammatory breast cancer, and no one has heard of it or knows its symptoms, so they don’t think to look for it.”
Sutton credits her husband Mike with helping her through this emotional ordeal, calling him “my rock.” Despite the chemo, Sutton has gone back to work baking wedding cakes for the Lake Union Café Custom Bakery. Her husband, her son, and her work are helping Kathleen maintain a positive outlook.
“I’d like to let people know that because you have an incurable disease doesn’t mean you have to stop living. You don’t have to be a ‘Debbie Downer.’ You can still be you and live your life,”