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VanBuskirk named KC's Honorary Bat Girl

BALTIMORE -- Kelly VanBuskirk of Broken Arrow, Okla., is the winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Royals.

VanBuskirk will be acknowledged on Mother's Day prior to Sunday's Royals-Yankees game. She and her young son, an avid Royals fan, will meet left fielder Alex Gordon, a member of the national judging panel.

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VanBuskirk was selected as one of 30 baseball fans, one for each Major League club, who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.

In 2009, a pregnant VanBuskirk, 35, lost her father and was then informed she carried the BRCA gene, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Later that year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, hysterectomy and chemotherapy. She had her last surgery in September 2011 and now participates in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events to bring awareness to the disease.

In her nomination, VanBuskirk wrote: "I might have lost parts of me, but I did not lose this fight. Today, I am a better me, a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Today, I am a SURVIVOR."

On Sunday, the Royals and other teams will wear pink ribbons on their jerseys and some players will use Louisville Slugger pink bats, which will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.

The Royals will have a pregame ceremony to celebrate breast cancer survivors and, outside the Royals Charities store, hold a silent auction featuring bases from the game and other pink items. There will also be a Susan G. Komen for the Cure donation table where shirts and pink bracelets will be distributed.

The Royals offer a special ticket package for Komen supporters. Visit www.royals.com/komenkansascity for information.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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