Join Football in Support of "Be The Match" Registry, Relay for Life

PHILADELPHIA - A bone marrow screening involves only a simple cheek swab, but has the potential to save a life. The University of Pennsylvania football team, along with Philadelphia’s two other Division I football programs—Villanova and Temple—are recruiting students, fans, alumni and city residents to take part in the quick and easy process that can ultimately save lives.

On Friday, from 6-10 p.m., at Penn's annual "Relay for Life," the Penn football program will be aiding in the "Be the Match" program for the third straight year. As part of the program, the local area football teams have set a goal of recruiting 5,000 new members to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry.

The opportunity to join the registry and potentially save a life is open to everyone. Members of the Quakers football team will be stationed at Franklin Field during the "Relay for Life" which is an annual event at Penn to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their battles. Participants form teams take turns walking around the track for 24 consecutive hours, raising money to benefit the American Cancer Society and its many programs.

On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children are searching the NMDP Registry for a life-saving donor. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. For many of these patients, a transplant may be the best and only hope for a cure. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially critical as patients in need of a transplant are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity.

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.

For questions or more information on Friday’s bone marrow screening process, please contact the Penn football office at 215-573-9229 or by emailing football@pobox.upenn.edu.

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.