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April 14, 2015

Charlottesville, Va. – Virginia football coach Mike London and the Cavalier football team will host the program’s sixth annual bone marrow registry drive as part of the “Get in the Game, Save A Life” program. The drive will take place Friday, April 17 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the patio area of Newcomb Hall at the University.

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 five years, the Cavaliers, working with volunteers from UVa’s student-run club Be the Match, have registered over 1,300 people for the donor database. 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. Two years ago, safety David Marrs was selected as an exact match and donated his marrow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in April of 2013. In February, former UVa kicker Chris Hinkebein, matched up with a donor and underwent a procedure at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill to donate his bone marrow.

At least eight participants in the program have been selected as matches and undergone the donation procedure.

“This program means a lot to me personally and 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 have been so encouraged over the years at this event by talking to students from the University and helping them understand the process and taking a few minutes to register. I was blown away last year when a student approached me and thanked me for hosting this drive because he participated and within a year was contact to be a perfect match. He was very excited that he was able to help save someone’s life.”

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.

Donations, or joining the registry can also be completed online: http://join.marrow.org/GoHoos.

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