CHICAGO -- On Sunday, Lisa Kates and her daughter, Torie, were at Wrigley Field to celebrate her cancer-free future.
Kates, 29, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, but she approached the eight rounds of chemo and 28 rounds of radiation with a positive attitude, and has shared that with other cancer patients. In a belated Mother's Day salute, Kates was honored at Wrigley Field before Sunday's Cubs game. She is the winner of the 2014 Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
Winners were selected from all 30 clubs. Because the Cubs did not play at home on Mother's Day, Kates' celebration was delayed until Sunday. She was pretty excited to be on the field and to get autographs from the players.
"I've been a Chicago fan since birth -- born and raised Cubs," she said.
The good news is that Kates had her last surgery at the beginning of March, and the latest scan showed she was cancer free.
She was thrilled to be selected by the Cubs.
"I've been nominated the last two years," Kates said. "The first year when I was diagnosed, my cousin nominated me. Last year, one of my survivor friends nominated me. This year, they were like, 'You should just write in.' To get the call that I was even a finalist was exciting. To actually get the call and say, 'Yes, you're winning it -- but you can't tell anyone yet.' It was awesome."
She did call her father, Joe Lukaszewski, immediately. He's been one of her biggest supporters.
Since she was diagnosed, her mother, Linda Bain, and her aunt also have been diagnosed with cancer. Kates does everything she can to help others affected by the disease.
"I'm constantly getting calls and questions from people around my community, they've reached out to me," she said. "I have a childhood friend who had a lumpectomy the same day as my final surgery. The cancer community is pretty close knit."
So are Cubs fans.
"Some people would call me unlucky, but I feel I was put through what I was to offer hope and give me a purpose in life that I will never take for granted," she said. "Go Cubs go!"
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.