UVa Football Team to Sponsor Second Annual ?Get in the Game. Save A Life? Program
Charlottesville, VA – Virginia football coach Mike London and the Cavalier football team will host the program’s second annual bone marrow registry drive as part of the “Get in the Game, Save A Life” program. The drive will take place Tuesday, April 5 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the patio outside of the Observatory Hill (O-Hill) Dining Hall. The testing drive helps to find matches to treat people with different types of blood and bone marrow cancers and benefits the Be The Match Foundation.
In addition to recruitment efforts prior to the drive, members of the Virginia football team will help with registration during the event.
Virginia’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and the student organization, S.A.V.E., are assisting in this year’s registration effort. S.A.V.E. stands for Society’s Awareness of the Vitality for Everyone and is a student group at UVa that is dedicated to eradicating health disparities within the Charlottesville community. Established in April of 2010, S.A.V.E seeks to bring health information and services to the medically underserved members through community service and monthly forums.
Last year the Cavaliers helped register approximately 250 people during the team’s inaugural drive. Senior linebacker Trevor Grywatch proved to be an exact match and in October donated his marrow to a recipient.
“Last year was our first attempt at this and at the time I thought the players did a good job, and so did the people that donated,” said London. “They were educated about why bone marrow registrations are important because you can eventually end up saving a life. That’s the whole premise behind it.
“When Trevor turned out to be a match and helped to save someone’s life, that’s when everyone really came to realize how much impact something like this can have. We want to exceed what we did last year and thanks to stories like Trevor’s, I believe there will be much more interest from our community in becoming involved this year.”
The Be The Match Foundation raises funds to help patients in need of bone marrow transplants receive the treatment they need. Participation in the recruitment drive takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete. To join, people need to be between the ages of 18 and 60, willing to donate to any patient in need, and meet health guidelines. Registration is simple, and involves completing a health history form and giving a swab of cheek cells. Personal identification (driver’s license or passport) is also required for registration.
Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially critical. If a match is found, the donor will asked to go to a local hospital to donate some of their blood.
For thousands of patients with life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma, a marrow transplant from an unrelated donor is their best or only hope for a cure. These patients depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match – and a second chance at life.
Bone marrow donation is especially important to London. In 2003 he donated bone marrow to his daughter Ticynn, who had a rare blood disorder.
“Almost everyone has a relative, a friend, or knows a person who has been or is in need of medical attention and intervention,” London said. “There are people who are in need of a life-saving opportunity that perhaps you can provide. Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch and hope nothing happens to you or a loved one. Get in the game like I did and perhaps save a life. The best game plan in life is to be an active participant.”