NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The shy woman who prefers to work behind the scenes was a center of attention on Monday afternoon. Usually, she’s the anonymous team spokesman, but now she’s speaking on behalf of something that’s drastically affected her life.
Monica Barlow, who’s worked for the Orioles for 13 years, is now the team’s public relations director, held up a sign at a press conference announcing a new initiative that Major League Baseball is partnering with StandUp2cancer.org.
“I Stand Up for Me,” the sign read. Barlow has been battling lung cancer, and she’s one of several club public relations officials who have.
At 35, Barlow has Stage Four lung cancer, and through her efforts, the Orioles are auctioning off a ride on the team bus to a game in Washington to help benefit cancer research. They’re also allowing a fan to shadow a player, eat with the team, take batting practice and sit in the dugout during a spring training game. There are more than 70 different baseball experiences and items to be auctioned off.
“When you’re going through something like this, the one thing you want to feel is hope and support,” Barlow said.
“It’s something that I recognize the importance of because I probably wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for research. The drug that I’m on now did not exist two years ago.”
Barlow, who’s never been a smoker, says lung cancer has a stigma because of its high death rate, and it’s underfunded.
“The one thing I don’t want cancer to do is to define me,” Barlow says. “I know that’s a part of my life, but I don’t want it to be the only defining characteristic of me.”
To participate in the online auction, which ends on Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET, visit @SU2C.