A Kennewick woman who is battling Stage IV metastatic breast cancer had quite a day Sunday. Betsy Haffner, her husband Mark and all five of their grown children (four daughters and a son) spent some time in the Mariners dugout pregame with pitcher Taijuan Walker. Then Betsy went out in front of 40,000 fans at Safeco Field and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Betsy is the Mariners 2016 Honorary Bat Girl. She was nominated by her son Mark, who noted that his mom is facing her future with “unimaginable contentment,” and that she meets every challenge with “dignity and fearlessness and lifts up our entire family in the process.”
Betsy describes the family, including 13 grandchildren, as multi-generational Mariners fans. Although they live in Kennewick, Betsy says she and Mark come over to Safeco Field several times a summer. They have been fans since 1977, when the team was founded, and over the years, the family has bonded over Mariners baseball.
MLB introduced the Honorary Bat Girl program in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative. In seven years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and millions of fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. The initiative raises awareness about breast cancer, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.