September 23, 2010

Student-Athlete Groups Unite Behind Cause

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Did you know that you have the opportunity to save a life this weekend at the Homecoming football game and while standing in “The Line” for hockey seats on Oct. 1?

There is a young woman by the name of Jaime Vick who is a part of the Cornell community because of her younger brother, Josh Vick, who is a member of both the Cornell football and track teams. Jaime is also the niece of Dayna Smith, the women’s head basketball coach. Jaime was first diagnosed with childhood leukemia at the age of 14. After rounds of intense chemotherapy, Jaime became cancer-free. Unfortunately, Jaime found out the cancer had reappeared when she turned 21. This time, Jaime received a bone marrow transplant from her twin sister, Jody, and again went into remission. This past spring, however, Jaime was told that the cancer had returned, and she is now battling leukemia for the third time. She recently received a bone marrow transplant on August 27 from an unknown man that was found in the National Bone Marrow Registry. She has been in the hospital, on and off, since June and is fighting several serious side effects from the transplant. With the help of this man, Jaime continues her battle with cancer and “is so upbeat and positive. She is just really focused on fighting [the cancer],” Smith said.This is where the Cornell and Ithaca community can help. An organization called “Be The Match,” hosted by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), the Red Key Society and the Cancer Resource Center of the Fingerlakes, will be at Cornell while everyone stands in “The Line” on Oct. 1 beginning at 4 p.m. in the hallway between Bartels and Lynah Rink. While you are standing in The Line or after you select your seats, take 10 minutes to fill out a questionnaire and allow Be The Match to swab the inside of your cheeks. After your questionnaire and cheek swab have been processed, you will be entered into the National Bone Marrow Registry as a potential bone marrow donor. It gives you the chance to save someone’s life in the future, such as the selfless stranger who gave his bone marrow to Jaime. “I’ve seen personally how much Be The Match can help, and it really does save lives,” Josh Vick said.It is especially important for institutions like Cornell to participate in these drives because of the great diversity. Jaime, who is Caucasian, had an 80 percent chance of finding a match in the Registry, but some people are not as lucky because their ethnicities are so unique. As Smith explained, “That’s why it’s really important to have a place like Cornell. There are people from all walks of life and every background imaginable. Those are the people that are needed in the registry.” Josh echoed Smith’s sentiments: “If more universities and institutions like this get involved … then there will be no reason that someone can go to the National Bone Marrow Registry and not have a match.”Normally, each cheek swab costs $100 to be processed. However, due to the compassion of The Cornell Football Association and the Cornell Hockey Association, each of whom have graciously given a $2000 gift, 400 community members have been entered into the Registry. With the help of SAAC and the Red Key Society, prizes such as gift cards, a signed men’s ice hockey jersey, a signed men’s lacrosse helmet and autographed posters of Max Seibald ’09 will be raffled off along with a 50/50 raffle during the Homecoming football game tomorrow to raise even more money. You can buy raffle tickets in the Crescent parking lot beginning at 10 a.m. until the game starts. The winners of all these prizes will be announced throughout the second half. “Anything we can get to help offset the cost of not only this drive … but if we can help out someone else’s drive, then it would be even more huge,” Josh said. So buy a raffle ticket at the Homecoming football game. Get your cheeks swabbed while standing in line for hockey tickets. By giving up 10 minutes of your life, you may be able to save another’s. As Smith explained, “There are so many things you can do to help these cancer patients, and this is probably one of the easiest.” Jaime Vick is only one individual out of many who can be saved with a bone marrow transplant. Both Vicks and Smith, in addition to their family, are very appreciative of the support shown by the Ithaca and Cornell communities. Although the raffle and cheek swab drive do not benefit Jaime directly, it is something proactive that the community can do for the cause in general. “It’s an opportunity to help. It’s an opportunity to show that you care,” Josh said. “You could potentially be saving someone’s life.”

Original Author: Karen Schillinger