Stratton enjoys game with family as Honorary Bat Girl
Cancer survivor and mom to four selected for Mother's Day tribute
PHOENIX -- Chosen as the Honorary Bat Girl for the D-backs' Mother's Day game against the Phillies on Sunday, Tracie Stratton is as humble as she is strong.
If you ask her, Stratton will admit she didn't think there was any way she'd win the contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
But as you learn her story, it's hard to imagine anyone else being selected.
Diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, the single mother of four has battled the disease ever since. Last fall, the cancer spread to her spine and brain, and although doctors thought she would not make it past four weeks, she is still fighting.
"She's an amazing spirit and an amazing mom," said Krystal Stratton, Tracie's sister. "Most people lay in bed with the type of pain she has, but when her kids are home, you can't get her to lie down. She's just a fighter."
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 with each team selecting a winner in an effort to raise awareness and support for the annual Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative celebrated on Mother's Day.
When Krystal first heard of the contest, which required a written entry, she immediately began writing to explain why Tracie should be chosen.
"As soon as I saw what it was, I knew my sister was the one because of how much of an inspiration she has been," Krystal said. "She's amazing, she's gone against all odds. She just wants to see her kids grow up, that's her goal in life. She definitely fit the criteria."
Her sister's initiative to pen the entry in her honor was enough thanks for Tracie.
"I thought it was really neat, but I didn't think there was any way I would win and now here I am," she said. "This is pretty cool, this is the best Mother's Day. I've got my kids here, I'm here, it's just a lot of fun."
A loyal D-backs fan whose favorite player is still Luis Gonzalez, Tracie hopes her battle with cancer inspires others to be more proactive with routine doctor visits.
"I hope it helps," she said. "I'm still on a limited time span for my life, I just hope more women follow up more and get checkups."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.