Throwing out the first pitch on Saturday at the Strikeout Cancer event at Beckham Field will be a local leukemia survivor, Hannah Bilton. In February 2006, Hannah's mother Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nine days later, Hannah (five years old at the time) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (Cancer of the Blood) at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital.
Hannah and her mother Wendy went through the experience together, undergoing chemotheraphy, losing their hair together as well as enduring several blood and platelet transfusions. During her treatments, Hannah had over twenty spinal taps. Now after two years of treatment and surgical procedures, both Hannah and Wendy are healthy and cancer free.
But, to use her father Jason's words, "good things can come out of something so bad." Hannah was chosen as the 2009 South Carolina Children's Miracle Network Champion through the Champions Across America Program. In March of last year, the family traveled to Disney World to attend the annual Children's Miracle Network celebration. Hannah was serenaded by country singer Mark Wills, did a commercial with Hannah Horne and former NFL QB Steve Young, attended a private concert by Julianne Hough and met Miss America Katie Stamm.
The family also traveled to Washington, DC to tour the White House and met with President Obama on the back lawn. After meeting the children, Obama invited them to play on his daughters' new playground. Hannah's sister Savannah ran over to the president to shake his hand, producing this picture that was on national news and made it into a book about the First Family:
After the DC trip, Children's Miracle Network did a fundraiser with Kelloggs and Food Lion and Hannah ended up on the back of a Frosted Flakes Box.
To read more about Hannah's story, you can read the Bilton family's blog here.