For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2013
Providence, Rhode Island – For the last three years, the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Testing Drive has become a major part of the Brown Football program, with nearly 800 students, faculty, staff and community members signing up as potential donors. Last year, one of its players, defensive back Matt Shannon '14, gave the ultimate gift of life when he became a bone marrow donor and saved another man's life.
Brown Football is joining collegiate football teams throughout the country in an effort to recruit 5,000 new bone marrow volunteers to the "Be The Match" registry. The Bears will sponsor their Fourth Annual Bone Marrow Donor Testing Drive on Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013, at Sayles Hall, located on the main campus, from 10 am to 5 pm. The drive is open to the public and sponsored by Brown Football and the Brown Warren Alpert Medical School.
Under Head Coach Phil Estes, Brown football became a leader in Rhode Island for providing support to the "Be the Match" Registry. Estes and the entire Brown football team and coaching staff will be out in force to exceed its efforts over the last three years. The Bears' football team has been creating awareness for the bone marrow donor drive on the Brown campus since returning from semester break, encouraging university faculty, staff, students and the local community to be a part of the national movement and join the "Be The Match" registry.
Shannon got the call in his dorm room a week before finals that he was a perfect genetic match for a patient who desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. The odds of such a match are about 80,000 to 1. He immediately agreed to a process of interviews and medical testing. Matt flew from Cleveland, OH to Georgetown Medical Center in Washington D.C. to undergo the procedure on May 31, 2012 that ultimately saved the life of the unknown recipient.
All are welcome to sign up for this critical drive that is part of the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." campaign for the National Marrow Donor Program. Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on the "Be The Match" registry to find a match.
Registration is simple, and involves completing a health history form and giving a swab of cheek cells. A person must be between the ages of 18 and 60, meet the health guidelines and be willing to donate to any patient in need. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially critical. Individuals will become a member of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) "Be The Match" registry. If you match, most donations are done through an automated blood donation – no surgery needed.
The "Be The Match" registry has been fostered by Villanova's head coach Andy Talley, who has dedicated more than 17 years to raising awareness about the need for marrow donors. He has recruited thousands of members to the registry by encouraging his football team and their friends to join – last year more than 8,000 people joined through a "Get in the Game. Save A Life" donor drive. Talley's aim is to increase the likelihood that all patients receive the life-saving transplants they need. In addition to Brown University, more than 30 college football teams are participating in the program.