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Gopher Football Team Recruits Students To ‘Be The Match’

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every four minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. It can take just 15 minutes to find out if you can save their life. On Tuesday, the University of Minnesota Gopher football team helped recruit students for the Be The Match drive.

It’s the Gopher’s second year hosting the drive. Megan Feltz, Be The Match campus president, said getting the team involved was relatively easy because the organization is important to Coach Jerry Kill.

It’s a quick and easy process to sign up for their bone marrow donor registry. You fill out some paperwork and swab the inside of your cheek.

Be The Match has been on the University of Minnesota campus since 2012. Roughly 700 kids signed up last year. Freshman Will Preachuk joined the registry in December.

“It’s very easy with very little time commitment,” Preachuk said. “It turned out I was the match for a guy within like, February. Not even two months ago, they said you might be a match and it turned out, I was the primary match for this guy that two months ago, wouldn’t have had a bone marrow donor.”

The traditional procedure involves a surgery to extract bone marrow from the pelvic bone and can be more painful.

“It feels more like you’ve slipped and fell on the ice,” Feltz said.

Preachuk is donating his bone marrow through a more common, less invasive procedure that’s similar to donating plasma. He said after four short visits with a doctor, he’ll undergo a 8-to-10 hour procedure that will leave him in bed for a day. A small sacrifice given the vitality of his gift.

“All that matters is, at the end of it, that guy gets shipped your bone marrow and his life gets saved,” Preachuk said.

Be The Match save the lives of 12,000 patients a year who need a bone marrow transplant.

For more information about joining their registry, visit their website.

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