Pickleball Magazine 2-3 - Page 49

Pickleball Tournament Held to Fight Blood Cancer Fundraiser benefits Gift of Life Marrow Registry to facilitate transplants. E very year more than 20,000 Americans need a marrow transplant to treat blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other disorders. Although it seems logical that family members would be the best donors, this is not the case – only 30 percent of patients find a donor within the family, so 70 percent must rely on public registries, like Gift of Life Marrow Registry, to find their matching volunteer donors. On March 30, Gift of Life, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., hosted a pickleball tournament at Boca West Country Club to benefit the organization. Funds raised by the tournament will be used to add new donors to the registry. “I am delighted that so many pickleball clubs in South Florida were able to join together to support this worthy cause,” said event chair Gail Oliver. “By participating in this exciting event, pickleball enthusiasts and their fans were able to save lives through their support of Gift of Life.” Oliver became an advocate of Gift of Life in the early 1990s, when the organization’s founder and CEO, Jay Feinberg, was diagnosed with leukemia. A grassroots campaign launched by his family and friends garnered national attention and thousands of volunteers, including Oliver. After a four-year search, as his health was failing, Feinberg’s matching donor was found and his transplant was a success. Feeling that no one should have to search for years to find a donor, he founded Gift of Life Marrow Registry to pay it forward and help other cancer patients in need. “We are grateful for the support of the local pickleball community,” said Feinberg. “Every person we add to the registry gives hope to the many patients seeking their lifesaving donors.” Every donor who joins the registry must first swab the inside of their cheeks to identify their genetic matching factors. Then the swab kit is sent to a lab for tissue-typing that costs Gift of Life $60 per donor. If a match is found for a patient, that donor is contacted by Gift of Life and offered the opportunity to save the cancer patient’s life. To date, Gift of Life has facilitated more than 3,000 lifesaving transplants and has nearly 265,000 registered donors. The more donors who join the registry, the more matches will be found and lives saved. Visit www.giftoflife.org to learn more about how marrow transplants can cure blood cancers, and to order a registration kit or locate a registration drive in your area. If you would like to hold a benefit event for Gift of Life Marrow Registry, please call 561.982.2900. • ABOUT GIFT OF LIFE Gift of Life Marrow Registry, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to curing blood cancer through marrow and stem cell donation. A leader in the field, Gift of Life’s vision is to find a match for any patient in need, whenever they may need one. The organization has facilitated over 3,100 lifesaving transplants, and has more than 262,000 active volunteer donors in its registry. MAY/JUNE 2017 | MAGAZI 9(