PHILADELPHIA - In just a four-hour time period, the University of Pennsylvania football team recruited 374 new donors for the "Be the Match" program Friday night as part of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry. The amount was a team record and nearly doubled last year's total of 192.
"It's so important to give back and I thought everybody did a great job," head coach Al Bagnoli said of his staff and team. "We were privileged to combine with the Relay for Life event, and our kids did a good job of recruiting people for the cause."
Every member of the Quakers football team was involved. Working in shifts, they were stationed at Franklin Field during the Relay for Life - an annual event at Penn to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their battles. Participants in the relay form teams to take turns walking around the track for 24 consecutive hours, raising money to benefit the American Cancer Society and its many programs.
"This is an opportunity for our kids to realize how fortunate they are," Bagnoli added. "They're young, healthy, vibrant, and that is not always the case. I think everyone has been impacted by these illnesses in one way or another, and we will continue to do whatever it is we can to help."
The annual screening project was started by Villanova Head Football Coach Andy Talley, who has dedicated more than 15 years to raising awareness about the need for marrow donors. With “Get in the Game. Save A Life”, Talley aims to increase the likelihood that all patients receive the life-saving transplant they need. In addition to Penn, more than 25 college football programs are participating in the program this year. This is the third year the Quakers have been involved in the program.
The Quakers are currently in the middle of spring ball. The team has the eighth of 12 spring practices on Tuesday. The first chance for fans to see the defending Ivy League champions is at the Spring Game on April 10.
About the NMDP
The NMDP facilitates unrelated marrow and cord blood transplants as a single point of access for a long-standing collaborative network of national and international leading medical facilities in marrow and cord blood transplantation. The NMDP connects patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives. For more information call 1(800) MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org.