Dierks named Rockies' Honorary Bat Girl

DENVER -- The Rockies announced the winner of their "Honorary Bat Girl" contest winner on Thursday, choosing Paz Dierks for the position as part of Major League Baseball's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" campaign.

The contest recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who have demonstrated a commitment to eradicating the disease.

Dierks will be recognized in a pregame ceremony on May 19, when the Rockies play the Giants. Each of the 30 Major League teams have selected honorary bat girls to take part in on-field ceremonies and to receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.

Dierks, 35, learned she had stage 3A breast cancer last August, when she was 13 weeks pregnant. She met with an oncologist and a surgeon, and together they determined she would have to have a right breast mastectomy. After healing from her surgery, she started chemotherapy in the 19th week of her pregnancy. She also underwent chemotherapy during weeks 22, 25 and 28.

During week 32, Paz delivered a healthy baby boy. She recently finished her 11th of 12 infusions in her second round of chemotherapy.

Fans across the country shared inspirational stories that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they or their nominees should represent their favorite team. The 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a panel that included CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals, Maria Menounos of Extra TV and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.

Additional observances of MLB's "Going to Bat Against Cancer" campaign include hundreds of players using pink bats on Mother's Day and the opportunity for fans to get a personalized pink bat by going to shop.mlb.com or sluggergifts.com. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.

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 base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink.

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. In four years, over 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than 10 million fan votes have been cast.

Partnering with Stand Up to Cancer, a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the initiative has set out to raise awareness about breast cancer and to raise funds to support life-saving breast cancer research.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.