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Kania serves as Tigers' Honorary Bat Girl

Michigan native was 32 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer

DETROIT -- Tracie Kania has been a committed supporter of breast cancer survivors and a proponent of the fight for a cure in the years since she was diagnosed with the disease. Sunday was a day for the Tigers and Major League Baseball to show support, selecting her as an Honorary Bat Girl as part of the game's efforts to go to bat against breast cancer and promote breast health awareness.

After over 275 breast cancer survivors lined the infield at Comerica Park during a pregame ceremony, Kania threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Tigers took the field against the Indians.

Kania was selected through an online contest at tigers.com as part of MLB's effort to recognize inspirational fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment to the cause.

Her story proved particularly poignant. The Troy, Michigan, resident was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IIIB inflammatory breast cancer.

Twenty-seven grueling weeks of chemotherapy followed. In that time, Kania underwent 33 radiation sessions. But with the help and support of family and friends, she made it through.

Come October, she'll be a five-year cancer survivor, and she's using her time to become an example for those facing the same challenges she did. She's a representative for the Detroit Race for the Cure benefiting Komen for a Cure, which takes place next weekend at Comerica Park while the Tigers are on the road.

Likewise, the Tigers donated 2,000 tickets for Sunday's game to breast cancer survivors, volunteers and families from the race.

Kania also has been a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and a participant in Bras for a Cause, an event that supports Gilda's Club of Metro Detroit. The organization provides social and emotional support for men, women and children living with cancer, as well as their families and friends with support groups, lectures, workshops and social events.

As part of the honor, Kania received a special Honorary Bat Girl jersey, a Rawlings pink-stitched baseball and a certificate of recognition signed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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