Expanded Plans for Yale Athletics Marrow Donor Testing Drive at Commons Thursday, Apr. 23

The Yale football and women's ice hockey teams are leading a marrow donor testing drive to aid patients such as forward Mandi Schwartz, a leukemia survivor.

April 21, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale Department of Athletics has expanded its plans for the marrow donor testing drive led by the football and women's ice hockey teams Thursday, Apr. 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Commons, located on the corner of College Street and Grove Street in New Haven. The drive, which is open to the public and was featured in the New Haven Register Tuesday, now includes free food and an appearance by Handsome Dan, Yale's live bulldog mascot.

Food includes grinders, pizza, brownies and cookies. It is provided through the generosity of Jordan Catering, Leoni's Catering, Yale Dining Services and Yorkside Pizza. It will be available in the hospitality tent provided by Abbey Tent in Beinecke Plaza, located next to Commons.

The marrow donor testing drive is part of the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." campaign by the National Marrow Donor Program. Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on the NMDP Registry to find a match. The testing, which consists of a simple cheek swab, has a special meaning for the Yale athletics department as Bulldog women's ice hockey player Mandi Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask.) is currently battling leukemia and in need of a marrow donor. Schwartz' residential college at Yale, Calhoun, has also been instrumental in helping with the marrow donor testing drive.

To join the registry, a person must be between the ages of 18 and 60, meet the health guidelines and be willing to donate to any patient in need. The donor test consists of a simple cheek swab. No blood or needles are involved and it will only take approximately 15 minutes. There is no cost to be tested. Individuals will become a member of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry.

From the web site Marrow.org:

"On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children are searching the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry for a life-saving donor like you. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. For many of these patients, a transplant may be the best and only hope of a cure.

We work to provide hope and deliver a cure to all patients in need. With your support, more patients can access the treatment they so desperately need."

The "Get in the Game. Save a Life." program started in 1992 at Villanova under the guidance of head football coach Andy Talley. Larry Ciotti, an 18-year assistant coach at Yale, is a friend of Talley's and brought the idea to Tom Williams, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football.

To date the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." program has resulted in more than 3,500 potential donors being tested, including Villanova football player Joe Marcoux, who wound up being a match for a patient in need in 2007. Talley has now partnered with the National Marrow Donor Program to take his efforts to the national level. He has received commitments from 30 college football programs, including Yale, who will join in the screening process. This year's goal of the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." program is to test 5,000 people. Last year, the spring testing resulted in 2,600 people being entered into the national registry. Temple set a national record for a collegiate team by screening 630 potential donors.

There are 20 million people worldwide who are registered as potential marrow donors. Still, there are only about 250 matches found each year, making it a 1-in-80,000 chance that a registered donor will be a match. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially critical as patients in need of a transplant are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity.

Those interested in participating in the Yale marrow donor testing drive can contact Larry Ciotti with Yale Football at larry.ciotti@yale.edu or (203) 671-9805, or simply stop by Commons between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on April 23. Those who are unable to make it to the marrow donor testing drive but are still interested in being tested, click here.

Yale University "Get in the Game. Save a Life." Marrow Donor Registry Drive:

  • Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009
  • 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Yale University Commons, corner of College and Grove Street
  • New Haven, Conn.
  • 1-800-MARROW-2

For more information:

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity