Cards, writers to host bone marrow registry drive

CINCINNATI -- Fans attending Saturday's game against the Braves will have an opportunity to participate in an important event at Busch Stadium that can have an impact much more significant than anything that will happen on the field that night.

The Cardinals, St. Louis Baseball Writers and Be The Match have teamed up to host a bone marrow registry drive where fans can learn more about the Be The Match mission and sign up to join the national bone marrow registry. The drive will be held in the Family Pavilion from 4:15-8 p.m. CT.

Be The Match is the world's largest and most diverse donor registry and plays a critical role in matching blood cancer patients with a donor match. Seventy percent of patients needing a transplant will not have a family member match.

The drive was organized to honor the late Joe Strauss, a longtime Cardinals beat writer and columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Leukemia took Strauss' life in December 2015. His wife, Diana, and daughter, Alexis, will be at Busch Stadium on Saturday to volunteer at the donor drive.

They will be joined by other members of the local media, cancer survivors and donors, all of whom will help answer questions about the process of donating bone marrow. Fans interested in joining the registry will be able to do so with a commitment of only 15 minutes. After filling out some medical paperwork, a registrant will do a simple cheek swab to collect a tissue sample. That sample is then logged into the national registry to see if it matches one of the more than 14,000 blood cancer patients awaiting a transplant.

Be The Match is looking specifically for donors ages 18-44, as research has shown that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants. There is also a great need to add more diversity to the registry.

For those unable to take attend the drive, there is still an opportunity to join the registry by requesting a donor kit at http://join.bethematch.org/stlcardinals.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.