BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh football team is spearheading an on-campus bone marrow testing drive on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on campus in Lamberton Hall. The drive will have extra significance for someone else from the Lehigh Athletics’ family as Marilyn Hyncik, mother of former men’s basketball captain Adam, is in need of a bone marrow transplant and has been unable to find a match.
Hyncik’s mother was diagnosed with a nonaggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, but over the past six months, her cancer became extremely aggressive. A mother of four and grandmother of one, Marilyn cannot withstand any more chemotherapy. Her body is unable to generate enough white blood cells and needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. However, with 12 million registered donors around the world, there were zero matches. Adam and the Lehigh family are desperately searching for a match.
“Lehigh has been an important part of my life, both academically and athletically.” said Adam, “Academically, Lehigh was a springboard into my career. The network has been very strong. Professionally, Lehigh basketball prepared me for my career today. The first thing I did was reach out to a Lehigh network, my family network and where I grew up [in New Jersey].”
Hyncik’s effort fits in with the Lehigh football program’s on-campus bone marrow testing drive, which benefits the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match Foundation. Lehigh’s drive has been organized by assistant coach Donnie Roberts, who credits Villanova head coach Andy Talley, who first became involved in the national bone marrow donor drive in 1992, and has helped getmany other college football programs involved.
Adam is hoping Wednesday’s drive can help his mother find a match, which would ultimately save her life. Many other lives could also be saved by Wednesday’s testing.
“If we get a couple hundred people out on Wednesday, maybe there’s someone else out there whose mom can be saved too,” said Adam. “Maybe there’s someone else who’s dealing with this and doesn’t really know what to do and how to put this together. We’re trying to take a positive approach. This is my calling now, to educate the population.”
Ultimately, it only takes four simple cheek swabs to see if you’re a match while the actual transplant only takes a few hours and you’ll leave the same day. By coming out on Wednesday, you won’t be committing to anything other than four simple cheek swabs.
“The people signing up on Wednesday are registering for the general pool,” said Adam. “By registering, you’re just putting your name in the general pool. You could be called, but donors are not committing to anything by joining. It’s totally up to you how it fits into your schedule and your life.”
Three Lehigh football players have been called already, including two who have donated. One of which is Mike Groome; to read his story from last summer, please click here.
For those not in the Lehigh Valley, there are other ways to make a difference. Check out a special website at www.matchformarilyn.com for more information. There are other drives set for April 19 in New York and April 29 in Skillman, N.J. For the complete list of events, please click here. There’s also a way to order a test kit from the comfort of your home free of charge.
“All we need is one,” said Adam. “We’re not giving up hope.”