The St. Louis Cardinals, in conjunction with the St. Louis Baseball Writers and Be The Match, announced today that they will host a donor drive at Busch Stadium on Saturday, August 6, to add individuals into the national registry and increase the chances of finding a donor match for those awaiting a life-saving bone marrow transplant. The event is being organized in part to honor the legacy of Joe Strauss, a longtime Cardinals beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who passed away from leukemia in December 2015.
"We were greatly saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, but believe that out of Joe's battle with leukemia we can help others going through the same fight," said MLB.com's Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch, who is organizing the event. "Our hope in planning this drive is that we can match those still battling leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers with a donor so that more lives can be saved. We appreciate the Cardinals stepping up to join us in this effort."
The drive will take place just outside the Family Pavilion in Ford Plaza inside Busch Stadium from 4:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT. as the Cardinals host the Atlanta Braves in a 6:15 p.m. game that evening. Volunteers will be educating fans about the mission of Be The Match and assisting those interested in joining the national registry complete the short process, which typically takes about 15 minutes.
"We hope to register a significant number of fans with this drive and also raise awareness about how easy it is for all of us to do our part to save a life," said Michael Hall, Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of Cardinals Care. "The process is very easy and non-invasive. A simple cheek swab is all that is needed to get someone's sample."
With more than 13.5 million potential bone marrow donors, the Be The Match registry is the world's largest and most diverse donor registry. Seventy percent of patients needing a transplant will not have a family member match and therefore rely upon Be The Match to find one. More than 14,000 people remain in need of a donor. Fans interested in joining the registry at the August 6 drive will fill out a registration/consent form and then swab the inside of their mouth to submit a tissue sample. Be The Match is specifically looking for donors age 18-44, as research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.
If someone becomes a match for a transplant, there are two ways of donating: About 77 percent of marrow donation is done through blood, similar to donating double reds or platelets. The other 23 percent of the time, if a child is the recipient, the donation is done through a surgical procedure.
"We are very grateful to both the baseball writers and the St. Louis Cardinals for organizing this drive," said Denise M. Mosley, Community Engagement Representative for Be the Match. "We encourage everyone to come to Busch Stadium on the 6th, support the drive, cheer on the Cardinals, and do their part to help save a life."
Those unable to attend can still join the national registry anytime by going to https://join.bethematch.org/stlcardinals and requesting a donor kit. Fans can join the conversation with #CardsBeTheMatch