For the second consecutive year, the St. Louis Cardinals, in conjunction with the St. Louis Baseball Writers and Be The Match, will host the #Join4Joe bone marrow donor drive at Busch Stadium on Saturday, September 9, to add individuals to the national registry and increase the chances of finding a donor match for those awaiting a life-saving bone marrow transplant. The event was organized last season to honor the legacy of Joe Strauss, who covered the Cardinals for 14 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and passed away in December 2015 at the age of 54 after a courageous battle fighting leukemia.
"The baseball writers are proud to partner with the St. Louis Cardinals to continue honoring Joe's legacy by helping others battling Leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers find bone marrow donors," said MLB.com's Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch, who worked with Joe. "Last year's drive added over 100 potential donors to the registry and we hope to see those numbers continue this year so that more lives can be saved."
The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to annually partner with the St. Louis baseball writers to sponsor the drive in Joe's name and have developed a formal intake process via cardinals.com/join4joe to sign up donors all year round.
"To all of us, Joe was much more than a baseball writer, he was our friend," said Ron Watermon, Vice President of Communications for the St. Louis Cardinals. "We can't think of a more fitting tribute to Joe than collaborating with his colleagues in the media annually to save lives."
This year, the drive will take place inside Busch Stadium outside the Family Pavilion in the Ford Plaza from 4:15-8:00 p.m. as the Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates 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.
"While we hope to continue to register a significant number of fans with this drive, we also want to help raise awareness about how easy it is for anyone 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 collect a tissue 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 September 9 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.
"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 September 9th, support the drive, cheer on the Cardinals and do their part to help save a life."
Fans can learn more about the #Join4Joe drive and join the national registry by requesting a donor kit anytime at cardinals.com/join4joe. Fans may also in the conversation with #Join4Joe.