A nonprofit organization, “Be the Match” is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program in the United States. About 70 percent of the time, a patient who needs a marrow transplant cannot find a match within his/her own family. When that is the case, doctors turn to the National Registry database to find an unrelated donor match.
The two schools teamed up with “Be the Match” to create the “Save a Friend Challenge.” The challenge’s name is derived from those friends that wish to be saved, those who have already been saved, and the ones who will be saved through this program.
A marrow donor registry drive was held at Marietta College last Wednesday Nov. 9 from 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. where anyone ages 18 to 44 were registered and only needed to provide a simple cheek swab to see if they matched anyone needing marrow.
The motivation behind this drive are very close to home for the football team. Head football coach Andy Waddle’s wife Kerry, whom is an Otterbein alum, was saved through this program. However, the main reason behind this particular drive is Dimantae Bronaugh, who is a former high school teammate of current Pioneer quarterback Darrien Fields. Bronaugh was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in August 2015 and the best chance for cure is a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
“I wanted to do something since I’m away from home and couldn’t contribute directly, but before I ever voiced that, Coach Waddle came to me about the idea of a bone marrow drive considering his wife went through a similar situation, and it just took off from there” Fields said.
“We called the folks at be the match and they called us right back and set up the drive on short notice. Otterbein signed up 89 and Marietta signed up 211 for a grand total of 295 new members to the national bone marrow registry’ Waddle said. “We are very thankful to everyone who signed up at both schools and have no doubt that together lives will be saved from this challenge.”
The Waddle’s have worked with “Be the Match” previously and registered more than 1,000 potential bone marrow donors. Meanwhile the Cardinals, under the direction of head coach Tim Doup, have a longstanding relationship with Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation, hosting the Ohio camp each summer that has raised in excess of $100,000 for pediatric brain tumor research.