To help raise awareness of the importance of bone marrow donation, the College of Charleston women’s basketball team sponsored a bone marrow drive on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Through this drive, the team hoped to educate the College about bone marrow donations and show that one donation could help save a life.
Recently, an article by junior center Mikaela Hopkins was published by the Huffington Post in which she shared a personal experience with cancer. When a close friend was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Hopkins confided in her head coach, Natasha Adair.
Coach Adair had an idea for how to help Hopkins through this tough situation, a basketball game to honor the courage of Hopkins’ friends and to help educate the Charleston community about bone marrow donation. During the game on Jan. 23 in which they hosted Towson, the team took donations and auctioned basketball artwork to benefit AML research.
After that game, with the continued help and support of her teammates and coaches, Hopkins was able to set up a bone marrow drive on campus with the Be The Match Foundation, whose goal is to give people the opportunity to become bone marrow donors.
“I’m really hoping that this [donation drive] brings a lot of awareness of how important and essential [bone marrow donation] is. There are many misconceptions about being a bone marrow donor so I really hope that through this we are able to enlighten our campus,” said Hopkins when speaking about the drive.
Hopkins is not alone in her journey to spread awareness. She is forever thankful for the encouragement and help that she received from Coach Adair and her staff. “They have just been awesome every step of the way. Coach Adair never says no. She always says, ‘what can we do? We are a family, and anything that you need to do, we are on board.’”
Her teammates have been by her side throughout the whole process as well. When making the plans for the drive, Hopkins was thrilled with the positive reactions of her teammates. “All of them were so excited. It has definitely made the experience a lot more team oriented because everyone is always willing to help.”
“It puts a big focus on giving back to the community. Being here as basketball players we do not serve only as basketball players but we are also role models to a lot of people. They see us getting involved and giving back to the community and the amount of support that they can offer us is great. It is just wonderful to be able to impact someone’s life,” commented junior guard Breannah Davis-Bloom.
The women’s basketball team has shown the Charleston community that there is more to being a Division 1 athlete than winning games. These young women are getting an important message out about the importance of bone marrow donation, which will help save the lives of a countless number of cancer patients. Although the drive has ended at the College, anyone interested in learning more about donations can log on to BeTheMatch.org.
Read Hopkins’ article in the Huffington Post at http://huff.to/1fBP1EY