BOCA RATON, Fla., Dec. 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Gift of Life Marrow Registry was proud to participate once again in the National Hockey League’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. This month-long charitable program occurs annually in November and unites the NHL, its member clubs, and fans in the fight against cancer.
Since 2018, Gift of Life has joined forces with the Florida Panthers and since 2020 the Nashville Predators, to have a presence at the special games dedicated to raising awareness and supporting those affected by cancer.
The Hockey Fights Cancer events have also provided an opportunity to showcase the miracle of blood stem cell and marrow transplants through the introduction of blood cancer survivors to their lifesaving donors. Gift of Life facilitated two such reunions at recent Predators and Panthers games.
In an extraordinary moment at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on November 18, Jennifer Bean, a 30-year-old survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, met the blood stem cell donor who saved her life. The pair, who due to medical anonymity laws were required to wait one year before meeting, were introduced during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
With a rousing hockey crowd looking on, Bean and her donor, 26-year-old Sammantha “Sammi” Fuller who had joined Gift of Life’s registry in 2018 during her Birthright Israel trip, had a stirring and joyful embrace.
“Thank you for saving my life,” said Bean. “This was a hard journey to get through and I don’t wish cancer on anyone.”
In another electrifying moment that took place during the Panthers vs. Edmonton Oilers game on November 20, leukemia survivor William Anderson, a 41-year-old father of two from La Porte, Texas, met his donor, Owen Hern, a 26-year-old New York City resident who joined the registry while attending the University of Richmond.
The two were excited to finally meet at the crowded Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla., as they were cheered on by thousands of fans.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that William is now cancer-free and I’m so incredibly humbled that I was able to help him, but I think most people would do the exact same thing if they were given the opportunity,” said Hern.
During both games, fans had the opportunity to join the registry by swabbing at Gift of Life’s donor recruitment drive inside the arenas.
“We are grateful to participate in Hockey Fights Cancer, with the support of the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators, and to raise awareness of the importance of stem cell and marrow donation,” said Robyn Malek, Director of Development at Gift of Life Marrow Registry. “Every year, thousands of people with blood cancers rely on transplants for a second chance at life since only 30% of patients find a matching donor within their family. This partnership has helped us reach a wider audience and educate people about the power of joining the registry.”
About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. The registry houses its own state-of-the-art stem cell collection center, biobank, and laboratory. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org
Media Contact: Edwige Buteau
Phone: (917) 655-3843; Email: Edwige.Buteau@outlook.com
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/1d23fe36-5682-4319-b444-a48e8c3ec39b