March 8, 2010
FAIRFIELD, CT - The Sacred Heart University field hockey team and the Northeast Conference have joined to initiate the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Drive this month. The Pioneers will host their fourth annual bone marrow drive on March 23 from 11am to 4pm in the William H. Pitt Center aerobics room.
This year head coach Chris Blais approached the NEC with the idea of expanding the reach of the event by including the other teams and universities in the conference. The idea was well received and now the field hockey teams from Bryant, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Siena, and Saint Francis (PA) will all run their own drive to see which team can receive the most donations in their attempt to save lives.
Registration to participate in the event is free. In order to register, you must be between the ages of 18 and 60 years old and in good health. Donors must also be willing to donate to any patient that may be found to be a match.
Sacred Heart sophomore Alex Melillo (Southbury, CT) took part in last year's drive as a donor and later discovered that she was a match for a 57-year old man with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. However, this man did not need a bone marrow transplant, but rather Alex's stem cells. After several more tests and a rigorous physical Alex was given medicine to increase her stem cells over a five day period, this past August. On the final day, the newly formed stem cells were harvested from Alex and transplanted within the next 24 hours.
"There was no decision, I knew in my heart that whoever this man was, I was his only hope at life," said Alex. "I wasn't afraid because I wasn't thinking about myself and any pain I might suffer, I was thinking about a man with hopes and dreams and most likely a family, maybe even a daughter. My parents were cautious and worried for me, but I told them God had put this before me and I knew in my heart He would protect me."
Help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:
Sacred Heart field hockey alum Erika Francisco is participating in a 100-mile bike ride to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Erika is training to participate in "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride" and will cycle 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in memory of those who have battled cancer.
For more information or to make a contribution please visit Erika's page at teamtraining.org.