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Through breast cancer and baseball, a lasting friendship is formed

It is a friendship borne out of breast cancer, but bolstered by baseball -- Dodger baseball -- and longtime loyalty.

Tanya Parra, 30, and Ada Osoy, 38, met a year ago at a breast cancer support group. Each had been diagnosed with different, but potentially deadly, versions of the disease. Both were distraught and lonely and desperately in need of someone to talk to who knew what the other was going through.

Even though from vastly different backgrounds -- Ada was raised in Guatemala, Tanya in Los Angeles -- they became soulmates. Especially when they discovered each other's passion for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"My mom had been a Dodger fan," Ada said. "I was 12 and living with my mother in Guatemala, and I fell asleep and Kirk Gibson hit the home run and my mother woke me up yelling, 'We won, we won!'"

For Tanya, it was listening to Vin Scully on the radio with her dad, who always wore his Dodgers jacket. And when she was undergoing chemotherapy, she craved Dodger dogs so much so that her boyfriend went to games just to keep her fed and happy.

Both women read about Major League Baseball's contest to honor breast cancer patients by making one woman an honorary bat girl for each team for a Mother's Day game. Both entered, but vowed if one won, she'd take the other as her guest. Thousands of women (and a few men) entered before MLB whittled the list down to 90, three per team. Both Tanya and Ada were among the Dodgers' final three.

Having undergone breast cancer treatment two years ago, MLB asked me -- along with cancer sister warrior Holly Rowe from ESPN -- to vote. I read each of the 90 entries, and the tears began to flow. So many of them were young and had extremely tough battles -- much, much tougher than what I went through.

Sadly, one of the winners, Lauren Smoke, a Cubs fan, passed away two weeks ago, stunning the MLB community and both Tanya and Ada, who had followed her story of being diagnosed while pregnant. It is heartbreaking.

Tanya ended up the winner, and because the Dodgers don't play at home on Mother's Day, she will tug on her father's Dodgers jacket and take Ada by the hand for Friday's game against the Marlins, where they will receive new pink gear and be celebrated.

Tanya's treatment is finished and she is cancer free. Ada's battle continues. She has received chemotherapy every three weeks for the past two years and will continue to do so until the cancer is gone.

I met with them on Friday, showed them our Los Angeles studios and took them to lunch. We talked for three hours, comparing stories, treatments, our fears and hopes. We will be friends forever now.

Both women are upbeat and strong, and each is stronger now because of the other. We are all thankful that out of something so awful, something beautiful was created.