As a tribute to late Bulldog basketball standout Andrew Smith, who lost a brave two-year battle with cancer, Butler University has partnered with Be The Match, the operator of the national bone marrow registry, to obtain at least 18,920 new donors.
Smith was a member of Butler's two-time NCAA Final Four team. He died
in January at the age of 25.
With a ratio of 1:430 of registrants to matches, this additional number will help match 44 additional candidates with donors, in honor of Smith's jersey No. 44.
As part of the partnership, Blue III, Butler's live bulldog mascot, has been named the national ambassador for Be The Match. Butler University Athletics Director Barry Collier said Smith was special because he genuinely cared for others and was proud to be able to raise awareness for his disease.
Mary Halet, director of donor services at Be The Match, said that every three minutes, someone receives a diagnosis of a life-threatening blood disease, such as leukemia, lymphoma or sickle cell. "In 70 percent of cases, no family member is a donor match," she said.
Often, bone marrow transplants are the only cure.
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