NEWPORT, R.I. – In winning the ECAC North-West Bowl last November, Salve Regina’s football team ended the season on top. Not so fast, says head coach Bob Chesney, there’s still one very important ‘Game’ on the Seahawks’ schedule.
“Get in the Game: Save a Life,” a national registry drive for bone marrow donors, will be held on Wednesday, April 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rodgers Recreation Center. Salve’s football team is leading the charge with the support of the university’s athletics department, and they’re encouraging the entire campus community to join them in the fight against leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders.
The procedure requires a simple swab of cheek cells, administered by the Rhode Island Blood Center for its “Be the Match Registry.” Donors determined to be a potential match would be asked to provide a follow-up blood sample to confirm, and then, following an information session and physical exam, it would be “decision time.”
Salve Regina’s fitness center director Thomas Blaney, who first registered as a bone marrow donor in 1992, got the call from Rhode Island Blood Center just before Christmas 2011 to let him know he might be a match.
In a matter of weeks, it was confirmed. His bone marrow was extracted via the aspiration method, which removes a small amount of bone marrow fluid and cells through a needle injected into the bone. Within hours, his bone marrow was en route to a 6-year-old undergoing treatment for acute lymphatic blastocystis fibrosis. Blaney said the entire procedure left him with little more than mild soreness the next day.
The national “Get in the Game” program was started at Villanova University about 15 years ago by head football coach Andy Talley. The program strives to engage student-athletes to register and to educate their peers about the need for marrow donors.
“The ideal pool of donors is that 18-22-year-old range,” Chesney said; “Football players particularly because of their health and diversity. Now, many campuses across the country are involved and we’re hoping to get the entire campus participating. This is an easy way to get a diverse population, not just the football team.”
Members of the Salve Regina community are encouraged to participate if they’re between the ages of 18 and 60, are in good health and are willing to donate to any person. There is no charge.
For more information on the Rhode Island Blood Center’s National Marrow Donor Program, call 401-248-5720 or visit www.marrow.org.
PHOTO CAPTIONS: Salve Regina's football team has joined the "Get in the Game. Save a Life" national effort to make a difference by joining the bone marrow registry.
Salve Regina fitness center director Thomas Blaney donated his marrow in February to a 6-year-old undergoing treatment for acute lymphatic blastocystis fibrosis.