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Lunch with Gibbons auction to benefit cancer research

Funds will be donated to LUNGevity, a national lung cancer-focused nonprofit

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays are auctioning off a lunch with manager John Gibbons to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

"Grub with Gibby" is Toronto's contribution to an initiative by Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and all 30 organizations in the league. The campaign was inspired by the numerous employees, friends and fans of the game that have been directly affected by cancer.

The funds from this year's auction will be donated to LUNGevity, which is the United States' largest national lung cancer-focused nonprofit. It is being done in the memory of the late Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow, who lost her battle with cancer in February.

"Major League Baseball is honored to conduct fundraising efforts for LUNGevity in memory of Monica Barlow," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "As a social institution with important social responsibilities, our game's most valuable opportunities are those that make an impact on the lives of others. It is our privilege to contribute to an extraordinary cause."

The auction is officially underway and will run until Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. The person with the winning bid on Toronto's offer will have lunch with Gibbons at Boston Pizza across from Rogers Centre on a mutually agreed-upon date. The opening bid is set for $500 and can be raised in increments of $25.

Barlow and her family were supporters of LUNGevity, and the baseball community will now continue efforts in her honor. Special items and events have been provided by each Major League club to help support the cause.

"LUNGevity, the Orioles and the Major League Baseball family were heartbroken to lose one of our own this year, but Monica Barlow's legacy will live on in the research that is funded and the new treatments that are being developed," said Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation.

"We are honored that Major League Baseball has chosen LUNGevity Foundation as the beneficiary for the Winter Meetings philanthropic auction. One cannot underestimate the impact that MLB's support can have on lung cancer and we look forward to working closely with them and the 30 clubs in the future. Their generosity and the generosity of those who support the auction will increase LUNGevity's ability to invest in innovative scientific research that has the potential to reshape outcomes for people living with lung cancer."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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