Tuesday will mark three years since the death of former Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow to lung cancer, and as time passes, the team’s roster includes more players who didn’t know Barlow or her battle against Stage IV lung cancer.
It has become an annual spring training tradition for players and staff to wear orange LUNGevity T-shirts that also say “In Memory of Monica” on the front in pregame every year on Feb 28.
The Orioles wore the shirts on Monday, one day before the anniversary of Barlow’s death, because the team will play on the road on Tuesday and won’t have the full squad assembled together.
And because some players didn’t know Barlow – who became an advocate for lung cancer awareness and research while undergoing treatment for four years until her death on Feb. 28, 2014 – Showalter gathered the entire team on the field before pre-game activities on Monday and told everyone about Barlow and her impact on the organization.
“I had that conversation with them out there before we started about, ‘Some of you guy who weren’t here, I want to tell you something about Monica and why we’re wearing these T-shirts today and in her death how she’s been able to impact so many people alive and passed on,’” Showalter said. “I don’t think we’ll ever forget her and the things [she went through]. I know we won’t, or I won’t. But I also wanted people to understand why we’re doing this and the impact it has.”
Barlow worked closely with LUNGevity, an organization dedicated to funding scientific research to battle lung cancer, since her diagnosis in September of 2009. The organization holds an annual fundraiser walk – the “Breathe Deep Baltimore” event -- every fall that begins and ends at Camden Yards.