The Butler University community, Indiana Blood Center, and Be the Match Indiana have teamed up to host a blood drive and bone marrow registry drive Tuesday, September 29, at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The event is being organized in honor of former Butler men’s basketball standout Andrew Smith and his continuing fight against cancer.
From 4-8 that night, donors are encouraged to visit Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler University campus to donate blood in Smith’s honor. The community is also encouraged to join the bone marrow registry, which is a simple process of completing paperwork and a cheek swab. To join the registry, a person needs to be between the ages of 18 and 44, willing to donate and meet health guidelines.
“Samantha and I want to use the platform we have been given, and the information we have learned going through the process ourselves, to inform people how important this really is,” said Smith. “People, unfortunately, will pass away waiting for someone on the registry; not because there isn’t a way to help them, but simply because the right person is not on the list. Butler University has meant so much to us over the years, and partnering with them to promote such an important cause that has directly affected our lives so much, is amazing. The community has been behind us the whole way, and this is just one way that we want to give back a little bit.”
Smith was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and spent the better part of that year fighting, nearly dying, and eventually beating the disease. Over the summer, Smith learned the cancer had returned. His doctors have ordered chemo and—this time around—a bone marrow transplant. He will undergo that procedure on October 19.
Through the Indiana chapter of Be the Match, the registry that facilitates matches between patients and donors, a bone marrow donor was identified. As he undergoes treatment and the subsequent recovery, doctors may administer blood transfusions to help his body.
“All of us at Butler continue to look for ways to support Andrew and Samantha as they battle this,” said Butler men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann. “Donating blood and registering for the bone marrow database are two great ways to showcase that support. I’ve registered in the bone marrow database and the process is incredibly easy. We’re excited to be part of this event and help to increase the impact that Andrew and Samantha can have on this cause.”
To make an appointment to donate or for questions about the drive, visit https://www.donorpoint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/98046 or contact Dotti Laas at 317-407-2124. There are donation times available in addition to those listed for appointment purposes. For those who want to join the bone marrow registry but can’t attend the event at Hinkle Fieldhouse, please visit http://join.bethematch.org/Andrew.
Important Facts to Know About Donating Blood and the Bone Marrow Registry
- Cancer patients often receive transfusions during treatment
- The need for blood is constant—Indiana Blood Center needs to see 550 donors every day to meet hospital needs
- No synthetic substitute for blood exists—only donations from volunteer donors can save lives
- It is the blood on the shelf that saves lives and Indiana Blood Center’s average inventory is about a three day supply
- Annually, more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease for which the best option for a cure is a bone marrow transplant
- More than 70% of patients do not have a matching donor in their family
- Be the Match Indiana facilitates 40-50 matches each year