Football team sponsors annual bone marrow drive

Kathleen McFadden

Head Coach Andy Talley and the football team have joined forces with the National Bone Marrow Donor Program for their annual bone marrow screening. The event is taking place March 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the St. David and Radnor rooms in Connelly Center.

The slogan for this year’s screening is “Get in the Game and Save a Life.”

By teaming up with the National Bone Marrow Program, the football team hopes to test 50,000 people nationwide within the next few years.

In addition to its work with the National Bone Marrow Program, Villanova football is working with 30 other college football programs this year. Their goal for this screening is to test 5,000 people as opposed to last spring’s 2,600. All of those screened are added to the national bone marrow registry, and could be called on in the future if a match is found.

The testing process is a simple cheek swab and takes participants about a half hour to register and be screened. If a match is found, the bone marrow is used to help patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases.

A bone marrow or a cord blood transplant tend to be the most effective treatments for those facing these serious diseases.

The odds of finding a bone marrow donor are one in 20,000 people. But in spite of this, Joe Marcoux, a senior on the football team, was an exact match for a patient in need in the spring 2006 screening. Marcoux then underwent a procedure and donated blood-forming cells to the patient.

Screenings are also set up in several schools in the area, including Penn, Temple and West Chester. Those who cannot make it to the screening at Villanova can go to any of the other participating universities.

The bone marrow screening program began in 1992, and since then, Talley and the football team have been involved in the testing of thousands of potential donors.

His support in the program can also be seen in his fundraising efforts for the program. He raised $10,000 in 1992 and received a grant of $60,000 in 1993, and he has continued his support throughout the past 17 years.