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Lehigh Joins Bone Marrow Match Program

While Saturday's Brown/White game will tell us important information about how Lehigh's football team will look in 2009, it's this Sunday - at Grace Hall on the Lehigh campus, from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM - which could potentially provide life-saving information to someone with leukemia or another life-threatening disease.

The Lehigh football program is joining up with twenty-nine college football programs (including Villanova, Penn, Temple, UMass, and Lafayette, to name a few) across the nation in a bone marrow testing drive to add to the national registry of blood marrow donors.

It's important to note that all potential donors would be doing on Sunday is a cotton swab DNA test on Sunday - an easy process:

Lehigh assistant football coach Donnie Roberts has been heavily involved in the upcoming event, and is looking forward to a strong turnout on Sunday. “The idea is to get your name on the national registry as a potential donor. What the test is looking for are healthy adult stem cells. The actual process is a cotton swab DNA test. The person getting tested is not donating now, but rather to see if they are a potential donor if they match.”

He continued, “Cancer affects such a large number of people and this is a chance for us to give back to the community as well as make people aware of different types of blood and bone cancers such as leukemia. We’re hoping that Lehigh’s athletic teams as well as people outside of the University tell their friends and can bring as many people out as possible for the event.”

Bone marrow is desperately needed nationwide for genetic disorders, immune disorders, lymphoma and leukemia. The need for a large national registry is important since bone marrow matches are very rare - only 1 in 80,000 are actually matches for people with disorders. The more people in the registry, the better chance that someone might be a match.

If you're at Lehigh on Saturday, you'll enjoy the Brown/White game and learn a bit about Lehigh's football team in the fall. If you're at Lehigh on Sunday, you might just save someone's life.

[UPDATE: The Patriot League just issued a press release detailing spring practice the bone marrow testing drive taking place in five Patriot League schools:

In addition to the spring games, five Patriot League schools are among 30 football teams throughout the country to host bone marrow testing drives. Lafayette, Colgate, Lehigh, Bucknell and Holy Cross will all participate in the "Get in the Game. Save A Life" program, which is an effort to recruit 5,000 new people to the marrow registry. The program was initiated by Villanova and its Head Coach, Andy Talley, as part of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). It is a way for college faculty, staff and students and area residents to join the registry.

The date, time and location for the bone marrow testing drive at each of the Patriot League schools is listed below.

Lafayette - April 17th, 5-9 p.m. - Plaza outside of Kirby Sports Center in the Fisher Stadium Complex
Colgate - April 18th, 1:30-5 p.m. - Cotterell Court at the Reid Athletic Center
Lehigh - April 19th, 12:30-3:30 p.m. - Grace Hall
Bucknell - April 20th, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. - Davis Gym
Holy Cross - April 24th, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m - Upper Kimball Dining Hall

So if you're not in the area, you can still participate!]


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