NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Students at Yale are lining up to save lives. It’s part of a drive to sign up people for the bone marrow donor registry.
Yale’s annual bone marrow drive is in memory of Mandi Schwartz, a women’s hockey standout who died of leukemia three years ago, but whose name still means a lot around campus.
“She didn’t judge people. She was just so kind. Even me, four years younger than her, she would stay with me and bike with me,” said Patricia McGauley, Yale Senior, Hockey Player.
“She’s been an inspiration. I mean her struggle with life has been an inspiration and emergence in another area of saving lives,” said Larry Ciotti, Yale Assistant Football Coach.
This is the sixth year in a row Yale athletes, and even the mascot, have worked to get people to sign up, swab their cheek and join the bone marrow registry.
“We go out there and say it takes 5 minutes. All you have to do is swab your cheek, you can save a life,” said Nick LaTesta, Yale Junior, Football Player.
So once you’re on the registry, what happens when you get that call that you’re a match? Well, it turns out it’s not that scary, not even painful.
“I donated my stem cells 3 days before Christmas and I spent a few hours with blood donation needles in each elbow and it was a pretty simple process. And pretty painless for me,” said Lexy Adams, Yale Grad Student, Field Hockey Coach.
She signed up when she was a field hockey player, now she’s a coach and one of 23 people who have been matched with patients in need, thanks to Mandi’s drive.
“A 64-year-old man with leukemia,” said Adams. “It’s an incredible feeling. I’ve really felt nothing like it before.”
They say they will continue to save lives in memory of a life lost.
For how you can help, go to bethematch.org.