The event honors the life of former teammate Brian Mehan, who lost his battle with cancer in 2008.
The drive provides participants with the opportunity to join the Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry, a database used by the National Marrow Donor Program to connect patients in need with eligible bone marrow or cord blood donors.
According to the foundation’s website, bethematch.org, prospective donors are added to the registry after submitting cheek cell samples, which are collected by rubbing the inside of a patient’s mouth with cotton swabs. Donors remain on the registry list until they turn 61.
The website states approximately one out of 540 registry members are asked to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood cells (PBSC). Bone marrow is extracted from donors’ hip bones while they are under anesthesia. PBSC extraction involves drawing blood out of a patient’s arm, filtering out cells needed for transplants, and transferring the blood back into the patient.
At least two past participants in the drive have been found to “be the match” and have undergone donation procedures.
Sean Conklin, a 2014 graduate, donated PBSC in 2014.
“They kept telling me at the donor center that I’m saving someone’s life by doing this. I wasn’t thinking about that when I got the swab done. I just kind of did it. I was walking by, and it seemed like a good thing to do …,” Conklin said at the time.
Bone marrow donation is used to cure various leukemias and lymphomas, inherited immune system and metabolic disorders, and diseases that affect the functioning of red blood cells.
Head Baseball Coach Kris Doorey said he and a group of former teammates decided to host a bone marrow drive because it honors Mehan’s memory and raises awareness about potential cures for the disease that ultimately took Mehan’s life.
Touched People ‘In Positive Way’
He described Mehan as a hard worker with exceptional potential and said that he was the person to provide both support and “the occasional kick in the butt” when needed.
“His demeanor touched people in a positive way,” he said. “He will always have a special place in my heart.”
Doorey joined the registry during the first annual bone marrow drive and has not yet been matched with a patient, but he said he would “jump at the opportunity” if he were chosen as a donor. He said that simply registering as a potential bone marrow donor is rewarding in itself.
“It made me feel good to do my little part,” he said.
The bone marrow drive is followed by the third annual Brian Mehan Be the Match Commemorative Baseball Game at 6 p.m. on Lefty Wilson Field, where the Cardinals will face the Union College Dutchmen.