PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For years, Villanova Football Coach Andy Talley has championed the cause of getting people to join the National Bone Marrow Registry to up the chances of patients being able to find desperately needed matches. Every year the Villanova football team holds a “Be the Match” registry drive, and now all of the other area college football teams are holding drives of their own. That includes Ursinus, and in April an Ursinus football player took the step of donating blood stem cells to try and save a life.
Teddy Conrad is a running back on the Bears football team and he also wrestles at the school. He had joined the registry as a freshman at Ursinus, and then, in December of 2010, he got a call telling him he was a possible match for a patient in need.
“Then in March maybe, I went in and did some blood testing and then a couple of weeks after that I got another call saying, ‘You are the match.’ And then from there I had to go to Hahnemann Hospital and get a big physical to make sure I was healthy enough to do that.”
Hear Matt Leon’s entire interview with Teddy Conrad in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
There are two ways that you can donate to your bone marrow match. One is
to actually have marrow removed, the other is a procedure where blood-forming stem cells are taken from your blood. On April 11th, Conrad underwent the second procedure and he says it was as easy as it was important:
“A lot of people go, ‘Oh, I’m scared of needles’ or whatever. I mean I don’t really like needles either, but it’s such an easy procedure to do now a days, they’re not like drilling into your hip or anything. It’s really not that big of a deal and you can literally save someone’s life.”
When you donate as part of the registry, you learn very little at the outset about the person your helping. Conrad says all he knows is that his patient in need is a 63-year-old woman with leukemia. He says that after a year, if all goes well, he may have the opportunity to meet the woman he helped, face-to-face:
“I’m pretty excited for that.”
The Doylestown native is proud to have had the opportunity to be a donor:
“It’s just something so simple and my family is completely behind me, my friends are all supporting me and everything. “
For more information on joining the registry, go to www.marrow.org/.
Reported by KYW’s Matt Leon