Mercury “Signs” 11-Year Old Mia McPoland as Honorary Assistant Coach
PHOENIX - The Phoenix Mercury have “signed” 11-year old Mia McPoland as their honorary assistant coach for the entirety of the team’s 2014 WNBA Playoffs run, as announced today by Mercury general manager Jim Pitman and head coach Sandy Brondello.
Mia McPoland, referred to by the team as “Coach Mia,” has Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare bone marrow failure syndrome, causing her body not to produce red blood cells. While Mia patiently awaits a bone marrow transplant, she must undergo a monthly blood transfusion to survive. At the young age of 11, she has already endured more than 100 blood transfusions.
“Mia is an inspiration,” said Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello. “Amidst a difficult situation, she finds strength, perseverance and determination. Those are exactly the characteristics that our team needs to become WNBA Champions. We are very excited to have her as a part of the Mercury family.”
Part of Mia’s signing will include a “salary” from the Mercury to Mia and Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®, a non-profit organization that manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. Mia will receive $1,000 for the First Round of the 2014 WNBA Playoffs, and an additional $1,000 for each round the Mercury advances. The money will be used to help find a bone marrow donor for Mia, as well as others like her.
In an effort to bring awareness to marrow donation, the Phoenix Mercury has teamed up with Be The Match to host a marrow registry drive this Friday (August 22), where the team will educate fans and Valley residents about becoming a marrow donor to help children like Mia . Free cheek swab testing will be offered in the Casino Arizona Pavilion at US Airways Center from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 – 7 p.m., prior to Game 1 of the Mercury-Sparks series in the First Round of the 2014 Playoffs.
"Just like our bone marrow donors, the Phoenix Mercury is synonymous with commitment and selflessness,” said Aubrie Vargas, Account Executive of Community Engagement for Be The Match. “The opportunity to do something small, like swab your cheek, could have a profound impact for patients like Mia. Thanks to the Phoenix Mercury organization, more lives will be saved."
About Be The Match: Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®, is a non-profit organization that manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. Registering to become a bone marrow donor is simple and takes only five minutes. If you are identified as a match for a patient, you will be contacted for further testing at that time. Today, the most common form of marrow donation is a process similar to platelet or plasma donation. Learn more at www.bethematch.org.
Tickets for Friday’s (August 22) Game 1 of the Mercury’s opening round series against the Sparks are on-sale now starting at just $17 and can be purchased at PhoenixMercury.com, the US Airways Center ticket office or by phone at 602-252-WNBA.