- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2009

There are some sports sponsorships that are all about the money, and then there are some that mean a bit more.

The Washington Mystics’ partnership with Sibley Memorial Hospital falls into that second category.

On Sunday, the team will hold its second annual Breast Health Awareness Game against the Minnesota Lynx, followed by a charity auction to support the hospital’s efforts to fight one of the top killers of women in the United States.

Last year, the auction raised $37,000, with proceeds going to Sibley’s Sullivan Center for Breast Health, which has set a national example for care and treatment of breast cancer. Even with a sluggish economy, Mystics officials hope to raise more money this year, thanks to a host of unique items and experiences available for bid. All 11 pink jerseys worn by Mystics players at Sunday’s game will be signed and auctioned off, along with a painting of President Obama and a signed and framed picture of all former ACC players on the Mystics. Fans also can bid on Wizards tickets, lunch or dinner with Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne, a bowling experience with a Mystics player and lunch in New York with general manager Angela Taylor.

“If you want that type of opportunity, you’re going to have to step up to the plate and support the cause on Sunday,” Mystics chief operating officer Greg Bibb said. “Would I like to do better than $37,000? Absolutely. And I think we have a better lineup of items up for bid than last year, so the potential is there.”

Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III and his wife, Monica, a breast cancer survivor, will speak at the charity auction.

The money raised will help Sibley support a number of programs related to the fight against breast cancer, including free screening programs and treatments and equipment for those who can’t afford it.

The Mystics’ support of Sibley runs year-round; the team has promoted the hospital’s efforts at games, online and on TV broadcasts throughout the season. Fans can support Sibley by buying pink flip-flops at games, with $5 of the proceeds going to the hospital. On Sept. 19, Mystics forward Monique Currie will take part in a bike ride with Sibley employees to raise awareness of the new medical building at Sibley.

“It’s been much more than having our name on the banner and the LED screen,” hospital spokeswoman Sheliah Roy said. “It’s been a true collaborative partnership. It’s much more than having our name at the Verizon Center. There’s been a lot of mutual benefit to both of us.”

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