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Updated Aug 22, 2014 - 6:16 am

Phoenix Mercury 'signs' 11-year-old as honorary assistant coach

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Mercury WNBA team has added a new member to the coaching staff.

General Manager Jim Pitman and coach Sandy Brondello made the announcement Thursday at US Airways Center.

"I am so honored," said 11-year-old Mia McPoland. "This is such a blessing."

"Coach Mia" has been selected as the honorary assistant coach for the rest of the team's 2014 playoffs run.

"We are so honored to welcome Mia to the Mercury family," Brondello said. "Mia is an inspiration."

The little girl suffers from Diamond Blackfan Anemia, which requires monthly blood transfusions until a bone marrow donor is found.

"I get really tired, and I just want to be in bed all day," Mia said.

The team decided to offer Mia a contract to bring awareness to marrow donation. Terms of her contract call for her to continue inspiring the team with her strength, get fans to cheer louder at all home games and to continue to raise awareness by sharing her story.

She even will earn a "salary" from the Mercury and Be The Match, which is part of the National Marrow Donor Program. She "will receive $1,000 for the First Round of the 2014 WNBA Playoffs and an additional $1,000 for each round the Mercury advances," according to a press release. The money will be used to help find a bone marrow donor not just for Mia, but for others like her.

For its part, the team is offering free cheek swab testing Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., prior to the first playoff game. A cheek swab is one way to tell if someone is a potential bone marrow match.

As for inspiration, Mia already has that part of her contract down.

"God has a plan for you, don't worry," she said, offering encouragement to other sick children.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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