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April 22, 2013

Charlottesville, Va. – Virginia football coach Mike London and the Cavalier football team will host the program’s fourth annual bone marrow registry drive as part of the “Get in the Game, Save A Life” program. The drive will take place Tuesday, April 23 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the South Meeting Room in Newcomb 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.

Over the past three years, the Cavaliers, working with volunteers from the University’s Madison House, have registered over 1,000 people for the donor data base. During the inaugural drive in 2010, senior linebacker Trevor Grywatch proved to be an exact match and in October of 2010, he donated his marrow to a recipient. This spring, junior safety David Marrs was selected as an exact match and donated his marrow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in April. At least six participants in the program have been selected as matches and undergone the donation procedure.

“This program means a lot to our football program,” said London. “Our players look forward to this each year and do a great job. They have learned the impact they can have in possibly saving someone’s life by volunteering a couple of hours and also registering for the donor database.

“I really enjoy the opportunity to talk to the students who drop by and once they understand the process, most of them are eager to take a few minutes to register. I want to encourage our student body, faculty and staff to visit Newcomb Hall on Tuesday to learn about the program and consider registering. It only takes a few minutes and they could be the key to matching someone in need of a donor.”

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 44, 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.

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