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Washington Nationals Announce 2009 Monthly Health Initiatives
03/12/2009 11:35 AM ET

The Washington Nationals today announced their monthly health initiatives for the 2009 season at Nationals Park. Launched in 2005, this program allows the team to partner with local non-profit health organizations to raise awareness and funds for the many health issues that affect the local community. The team will highlight seven health issues throughout the six-month season.

Autism Awareness will be the focus during the first month of the 2009 season. The Nationals will work with Sports Plus, CSAAC, (Community Services for Autistic Adults & Children) and DC Autism Parents to help increase awareness for a disease that affects one in every 150 children. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In June, the team will work with the American Cancer Society ,The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Prostate Cancer Foundation for Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer affects one in every two men and one in every three women throughout the United States. July marks the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's historic "luckiest man" speech. The team will use this opportunity to focus on neurological diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) & Multiple Sclerosis by working with the ALS Association & the MS Society. The American Heart Association will partner with the Nationals in August for Heart Health Awareness Month. Heart disease is currently the number one killer in the U.S. The 2009 campaign will conclude with Diabetes Awareness Month. The American Diabetes Association will participate in the September effort. Additional partner organizations will be announced throughout the season.

"The Nationals are dedicated to making a positive impact in the fight against serious health issues," said Chartese Burnett, Nationals Vice President of Communications & Community Relations. "The ballpark is a great venue to highlight the organizations whose missions are to raise awareness and funds for these causes."

Volunteers from the partner organizations will be stationed at the Nationals Park Community Booth, located in the Center Field Plaza, where they may disseminate information about their cause. The team will provide each organization fundraising opportunities including a Silent Auction with Nationals memorabilia during one game at the Community Booth and a ticket sales program throughout the awareness month that allows a portion of the proceeds sold through a group sales link to benefit the cause. A PSA will run on the Nationals Park scoreboard prior to games, during Nationals radio game broadcasts on WFED 1050AM, and on the community page. A representative from that month's non-profit will have the opportunity to either throw out the ceremonial first pitch or deliver the line-up card prior to one game. Additionally, the team will create a player appearance tied to each initiative: a visit to a school, local hospital or other related outing.

The Washington Nationals are committed to providing programs that enhance education, increase participation in youth baseball and softball, while improving the quality of life in our local communities of the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.

The Nationals home opener is on Monday, April 13 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies at 3:05pm. Individual tickets are currently on sale for all Nationals games in 2009 through the Nationals Park Box Office, located at Half & N Street, SE, by visiting or calling 888.632.NATS(6287). Fans interested in Nationals Ticket Packages including Full (82), Half (41), Partial (21), Mini (13, 12, 9) season plans and Group Outings of 25 or more should call 202.675.NATS(6287) - Option #1 or log onto

About the Washington Nationals Baseball Club

The Washington Nationals Baseball Club, owned by the Washington, D.C.-based Lerner Family, was relocated to the District in 2005 from Montreal. The team competes in Major League Baseball's National League East. The Nationals play 81 home games each season at Nationals Park, the 'Home of the National Pastime in the Nation's Capital', located in Southeast Washington.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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