Football to Host Annual Bone Marrow Testing Drive (April 25, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Zach Hundertmark, Tim Farina

DURHAM, N.H. – As part of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Be The Match Registry®, University of New Hampshire head football coach Sean McDonnell and his Wildcat football players will host their annual bone marrow testing drive Friday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Piscataqua/Cocheco Rooms at Holloway Commons.

The test is a simple cheek swab; no blood or needles are involved. Once tested, an individual is forever registered. The event is open to everyone who is not already part of the NMDP Registry. Event registration and testing take 20 minutes or less for each person.  

Over the last five years, UNH has recorded a greater number of registrants than any other participating school in the northeast. Through these efforts, three matches have been found, most notably former men's track and field athlete Cam Lyle. In January, Lyle received the 2013 NCAA Award of Valor for forgoing the remainder of his senior season as well as his throwing career in order to donate bone marrow to save the life of an anonymous recipient battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

UNH football looks to continue saving lives by bringing in over 600 participants this year. The Wildcats join other Division I programs Villanova University, Temple University, Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Northeastern University, the University of Maine, and Wagner College in the quest to identify potential donors for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry.

Be The Match Registry® is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that's dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant they need, when they need it. It is the largest and most diverse donor registry in the world. Their partnerships with internationals and cooperative registries provide doctors with access to 22.5 million potential donors and 601,000 cord blood units worldwide.

Still, there are only about 250 matches found each year, making it a 1-in-80-thousand chance that a registered donor will be a match. In addition, racial and ethnic heritage is an increasingly important factor in the need for donor matches. Donors of the following ethnic backgrounds are especially needed: Black or African-American, American-Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and Hispanic or Latino. 

Patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant are desperately searching for donors every day. 

For more information on the bone marrow testing program, please e-mail Bobby Callahan at Bobby.Callahan@unh.edu . For information on the NMDP call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org.

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