While the Lafayette football team had a goodbye last week, they remained active in the community by organizing a fundraiser for the nonprofit “Be The Match” in Farinon. Be The Match is an organization dedicated to finding possible bone marrow solutions for blood cancers like leukemia, sickle cell disease and lymphoma.
The procedure to register in the Be The Match database and possibly help with blood stem cell transplants takes two minutes, is painless and can have an incredible impact on a stranger’s life. Former player and Class of 2022 graduate Ty Hranicka, who happened to be a genetic match, went through the donation process.
“It’s a great feeling to help save someone’s life and it certainly puts things that are happening in my personal life into perspective,” Hranicka said. “I am very grateful to be able to help. Be The Match are a fantastic organization and have taken care of me throughout the process.
For the team, this event hits even closer to home this year with senior Joey Gillette announcing that his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has returned.
“With Joey being diagnosed again, it further underscores how important it is to raise awareness about this. He’s our brother and teammate, so seeing him impacted provides huge motivation to help out,” Hranicka said. Diseases can affect anyone, and the more people on the registry, the more we can help.
“I think our guys felt really passionate about it, not just because of Joe, but also a lot of the players on the team have family members or know people who have had cancer, so there was a lot motivation at all levels,” added Maddie Rodgers, Director of Football Operations.
Be The Match had a partnership with the Lafayette football team long before COVID-19. The new coaching staff supported this initiative with renewed vigour.
“Now that I have graduated, I am extremely happy to see the team continue to organize this event. I love and respect that Coach Trox has carried on this tradition. It was great to see a lot of guys using social media to raise awareness and promote the event,” Hranicka said.
“[Be The Match] works with a ton of colleges across the country and they said we did a really good job,” Rodgers said. “They said that normally, on average, they would have about 120 swap kits per Be The Match event they attend, and we were able to get over 260. I would say our event was relatively successful.”
After a week off in which the Lafayette community showed their support for this important cause – 269 more people joined the register thanks to community efforts – the Leopards will face Holy Cross tomorrow with renewed strength.
“I’ve been through the entire process before and would happily do it again. I highly recommend that everyone join the registry and help those in need. This organization offers the opportunity to save lives in ways few can” , Hranicka said, “I would love to see this tradition continue at Lafayette and I hope it will for years to come.”