Football program to host bone marrow testing drive
Posted: April 15, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh football program will host a bone marrow testing drive on Sunday, April 19, inside of Grace Hall from 12:30 until 3:30. Lehigh is one of 30 college football programs from around the nation participating in the event this year, which is spearheaded by Villanova head coach Andy Talley. The slogan for this year’s testing program is “Get in the Game and Save a Life,” and the goal is to test 5,000 people. Sunday’s event is free of charge and targets potential donors from ages 18 to 60.
Lehigh assistant football coach Donnie Roberts has been heavily involved in the upcoming event, and is looking forward to a strong turnout on Sunday. “The idea is to get your name on the national registry as a potential donor. What the test is looking for are healthy adult stem cells. The actual process is a cotton swab DNA test. The person getting tested is not donating now, but rather to see if they are a potential donor if they match.”
He continued, “Cancer affects such a large number of people and this is a chance for us to give back to the community as well as make people aware of different types of blood and bone cancers such as leukemia. We’re hoping that Lehigh’s athletic teams as well as people outside of the University tell their friends and can bring as many people out as possible for the event.”
“It’s great to work together as a team on a project like this,” Lehigh head coach Andy Coen commented. “This type of work can really make a difference, and I am proud of how engaged our team has been with this effort. We have outstanding young men in our program who are truly excited to know that they are helping to make a difference in someone’s life.”
There are 20 million people worldwide who are registered as potential marrow donors, yet there are only approximately 250 matches found each year, making it a 1-in-80,000 chance that a registered donor will be a match. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are highly encouraged to get tested as patients in need of a transplant are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity.
“We encourage ethnic minorities to seriously consider getting tested,” Roberts said. “There is a very low number of ethnic minorities on the registry and so we encourage them to come out on Sunday.”
For more information on the National Marrow Donor Program, please click on the link above.