Drive Open to Public, Could Help Save Lives
Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale
Part of the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." Program for Be The Match®
- Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014
- 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Yale University Commons, 168 Grove Street (corner of College Street and Grove Street), New Haven, Conn. (Directions)
- Open to the general public (to join the Be The Match Registry®, must be ages 18 to 44 to join in person)
- No advance registration required
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In recognition of the impact her courageous battle with cancer has had on efforts to save lives through marrow donor registration drives, the Yale athletic department will once again hold a drive in memory of women's ice hockey player Mandi Schwartz '10 (Wilcox, Sask.) (1988-2011). The Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale, which is part of the nationwide "Get in the Game. Save a Life." campaign for Be The Match®, will be held on Thursday, Apr. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this year. The drive, which takes place at Commons on the corner of College Street and Grove Street in New Haven, is open to the general public. Donors that could help save lives join the Be The Match Registry® through testing that consists of simple cheek swabs.
The Yale athletic department has held drives each of the past five springs, ever since Mandi was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in December of 2008. Yale's record-setting drives have added nearly 4,000 potential donors to the Be The Match Registry®, and at least 23 life-saving donor matches for patients in need have been located through the Bulldogs' efforts. That includes Yale field hockey player Lexy Adams (Lancaster, Pa.), who donated to a patient with cancer in December 2010, and Yale football player John Oppenheimer (Menlo Park, Calif.), who donated to a patient with cancer twice last year.
Yale's drives were led by the football team and women's ice hockey team each of the first two years. In 2011, the field hockey team began assisting those two teams with the drive. Members of all three teams help spread the word about the need for donors to their classmates, friends and relatives. On the day of the drive, they volunteer at the various stations set up to assist potential donors with the registration process. Last year, the New Haven County Medical Association assisted with the drive, and it was part of the Yale Day of Service initiative.
For the second year in a row, the preparation for the drive also includes a study break on Old Campus the night before the drive, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday Apr. 16, to help raise awareness. Additionally, this year the residential college that adds the most registrants will be honored at halftime of the Yale football home game on Sept. 20, 2014.
Mandi's story has been one of the driving forces behind the success of the Yale drives. In September 2010 she required a marrow transplant, performed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, that was designed to give her a new immune system using two anonymously donated units of umbilical cord blood. A biopsy in December 2010 indicated that she had relapsed, and she passed away at home in Saskatchewan on Apr. 3, 2011. Her younger brothers, Jaden and Rylan, play ice hockey as well. Jaden is with the NHL's St. Louis Blues and Rylan is with the AHL's Worcester Sharks.
Mandi's plight shed further light on the needs of cancer patients everywhere, and the value of marrow donation. Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia and other life-threatening diseases. Many of them will die unless they get a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from a matching donor. Seventy percent of these patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry® to find a genetic match to save their life.
To join the Be The Match Registry® in person, an individual must be between the ages of 18 and 44, meet certain health guidelines and be willing to donate to any patient in need. The donor test consists of simple cheek swabs and will only take approximately 15 minutes. Those who are not aged 18 to 44 may still assist by volunteering and/or making a financial contribution to help add more donors to the Be The Match Registry®.
Those who registered at previous drives are already in the registry, so there is no need for them to be registered again. Yale is seeking to add as many NEW potential donors as possible, so those who registered at previous drives are asked to find friends and relatives who have not registered and encourage them to take part in this year's drive.
Yale's drives are part of the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." program, which started in 1992 at Villanova under the guidance of head football coach Andy Talley. That program, involving college athletic teams organizing drives on their campuses, has resulted in tens of thousands of potential donors being tested. Larry Ciotti, an assistant football coach at Yale and former head coach at Hand High School in Madison, Conn., is a friend of Talley's and brought the idea to Yale.
Talley has partnered with Be The Match® to take his efforts to the national level. He has received commitments from dozens of college football programs. In each of the years from 2009 to 2011, Yale registered more potential donors than any other school in the program. That included 704 registrants in 2009, 921 in 2010 and 869 in 2011. Yale also led the nation in registrants last year with 843.
There are now more than 11 million people and more than 193,000 umbilical cord blood units in the Be The Match Registry®.
Those interested in helping with the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale can contact Larry Ciotti with the Yale football team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be The Match Registry®:
- Be The Match Registry® Website: www.BeTheMatch.org
- Myths and facts about marrow donation: http://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/How-marrow-donation-works/Myths-and-facts-about-bone-marrow-donation/
- AOL News: Yale Athlete's Plight Gives Another Chance to Save Life
- More information: http://www.yalebulldogs.com/mandi
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity