It’s not uncommon to see pro sports teams hold special nights to promote important causes, such as signing up for a bone marrow donation registry, but it’s more rare to see a story of exactly how one of those events wound up changing lives, especially as it can be so difficult to find a match between a donor and recipient. That’s what happened with the St. Louis Blues’ 2013 Be The Match Night, though, an event encouraging fans to sign up for a bone marrow registry in honor of Blues’ forward Jaden Schwartz’s sister Mandi. Blues’ fan Michael Hellrich signed up that night, was matched with a teenage girl who had leukemia this summer, and donated marrow to her in September. He told the Blues’ Elise Butler why he did it:
Hellrich was flown out to Georgetown in Washington, D.C. for further testing. Once everything was confirmed, the surgery was scheduled. The doctors took 1,300 ML, or approximately 5 cups, of marrow from his hips to give to his match.
“It’s not fun,” Hellrich said of the procedure. “But it’s totally worth it. One hundred percent.”
In fact, he would do it again.
“It’s the opportunity to save somebody’s life,” he said. “How can you not do that?”
…”Usually these people, this is their last hope,” Hellrich said. “They’ve done the chemo, they’ve done whatever radiation they need to do; this is it for them. It’s this or nothing. That’s when it breaks your heart that there could be a match for somebody out there.”
…”If you have the opportunity, I would do it and I think everyone should if they can.”
That’s a cool story, and it goes to show the kinds of impact these events can have. And the Blues will be hosting another Be The Match night at their game against the Minnesota Wild Nov. 25. Maybe that will lead to other saved lives.