PHILADELPHIA- For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Pennsylvania football program will take part in the 'Be the Match' Donor Registration Drive. The Quakers will help register volunteers for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) in the Hall of Flags at Houston Hall on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
In 2011, two Penn football players saved two lives due to the team's annual 'Be the Match' bone marrow drive. On Wedneday, the Quakers will help sign up more volunteers for the same opportunity.
Recently, a potential match has been found from Penn Football's 2015 drive.
"Honestly, it was very surreal," said the potential match -- who wishes to remain anonymous until the process is completed -- of the call he got notifying him that he may be able to donate. "I didn't really think I'd ever be matched with someone, but I talked it over with my parents and realized what an amazing opporetunity this could be. It's ultimately an easy process for me, and hopefully can help save someone's life."
Participation as a potential registry member involves a painless mouth swab at the local drive. Those that join could save the life of an adult or child hoping to cure a life-threatening disease.
The annual screening project was started by Villanova Head Football Coach Andy Talley, who has dedicated more than 20 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 50 college football programs are participating in the program this year.
Since 2008, Get in the Game’s drives have resulted in the addition of over 52,000 potential donors, with almost 200 transplants having taken place.
Just a few years ago, former Penn teammates Robert Gawlas and J.P. Grant, were bone marrow matches for two seperate individuals in need of life-saving treatment. Both Quakers agreed to help and you can read about their storieshere.
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 visitwww.marrow.org.