Pacers' Hibbert teams up with 'Be The Match'
Pacers center Roy Hibbert teamed up for a cause off the court Saturday that could literally save lives. He joined other Hoosiers at the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Registry Drive. It's an easy process with life-changing results.
With a simple swab, Hoosiers are helping to potentially save a life.
"If someone is in need of a transplant and me or my son can help, hopefully we can be there for them," said Joseph Beilounty of Speedway.
They stepped up to join the National Bone Marrow Registry. Those registering Saturday at Castleton Square Mall were asked to swab the inside of their mouths.
Each sample could end up being a match for a leukemia or lymphoma patient in need of a bone marrow transplant. Thousands of patients are especially dependent on strangers because family members only match 30 percent of the time.
"People that have leukemia can be cured and go on to live a nice long life, but it depends on all of us answering the call and just doing a simple thing, the simple thing of filling out a bone marrow registry and doing a cheek swab," said Angela Touseull, bone marrow donor recruiter.
It's a cause close to Roy Hibbert's heart. The Pacers center decided to donate after a young fan of his with leukemia passed away.
"He passed the day I was flying out to go meet him. It was an unfortunate event, but I want his cause to live on," explained Hibbert. "I'm here to try to do my part, bring awareness to it, and obviously get more people to register and hopefully save a life one day."
Brittany VanHook already has. She gave a sample, then got the call for a six-year-old boy she'd never even met.
"Found out I was a perfect match and in August of this year I donated," she said. "To know that you're helping someone and saving a life, or potentially saving a life, it's overwhelming."
The hope is even more Hoosiers will do the same. To join the bone marrow registry, you have to be between 18 and 60 years old and in good general health. It takes ten minutes, a few swabs with a Q-tip and a health questionnaire.