The Minnesota football team will continue its tradition of community service in mid-February when it partners with Be The Match in a marrow registry and fundraising drive.
The Gophers, who dedicated time this past season to charities like Kids Against Hunger and St. Baldrick's, will encourage their fellow college students and members of the general public to become a potential marrow donor.
Local pediatric patients Abby Mulvahill, 7, of Plymouth and siblings Jiena, 6, and 10-month old Mason Lee of St. Paul are presently searching for a "match."
Minnesota wide receiver Connor Cosgrove was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2010. Cosgrove does not need a marrow transplant, but spoke to the team earlier this week about the importance of the Be The Match marrow drive.
Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program and helps patients receive life-saving transplants. They are dedicated to raising awareness and funds needed to help all patients get the transplant they need.
The marrow registry and fundraising drive will take place from 1-4 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Minnesota locker room at TCF Bank Stadium. Gopher players will be on campus encouraging people to register and will also be in the locker room spending time with those who do register. The team collectively decided on a goal of registering 1,750 new members to the registry and to raise $10,000 to help support adding those new donors.
The registration process is quick, simple and painless. Potential marrow donors simply need to complete a registration form with contact information, health information and sign an agreement to join the Be The Match registry. Those who will be registering are encouraged to bring personal identification (such as a driver's license or passport) and contact information for two family members or friends who would know how to reach you in the future if your contact information changes.
After the paperwork is complete, all potential donors have to do is have the inside of their cheek swabbed. Once complete, their information will be stored in the Be The Match registry. This is the national registry where doctors turn to when their patient needs a marrow transplant and there is not a known matching donor in the family.
Be The Match focuses on finding potential donors ages 18-44, so it is critical that they register as many college students as possible. Their research shows that younger donors are best for patients because they provide the greatest chance for transplant success. Donors between the ages of 18 and 44 are asked to donate more than 90% of the time.
Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, sickle cell anemia or other life-threatening diseases. Many of them will not survive unless they get a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from a matching donor. Seventy percent of people do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match registry to find a match and save their life.
Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. Registry members of diverse racial and ethnic ancestry are especially needed, so every patient has the chance for a cure.
If willing registrants are not able to join the Gopher football team on Feb. 13, then they can sign up at one of six locations on campus from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Feb. 14. Be The Match On Campus Student Organization and Multicultural Pharmacy Student Organization will be signing up registrants in the Great Hall in Coffman Memorial Student Union, at Java City in Moos Tower, the atrium in Carlson School of Management, the TV lounge/first floor in Sanford Hall, at Kappa Sigma Fraternity and in Room 110 in the St. Paul Student Center on the St. Paul Campus.
It costs about $100 to add a new member to the registry, so donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Students or members of the public who are not able to register, but would still like to support Be The Match and the Gopher football team with their efforts can make a financial donation online here.