Yale Field Hockey Teams Up For Annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive

Images Taken by Sam Rubin/Yale Athletics

April 25, 2019, 1:45 p.m. (ET)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - April 25, 2019 - Since 2009, Yale University student-athletes across various sports have teamed up for the annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive. The Bulldogs’ field hockey team is no exception as they once again partnered with the school’s football, women’s ice hockey and men’s soccer squads to register individuals to the National Marrow Donor Program list. The drive was held last Thursday, April 18, and this year the field hockey team helped add 391 new people to the database.

“As President George H.W. Bush, Yale ’48, noted, ‘A volunteer is a person who can see what others cannot see; who can feel what most do not feel often, such gifted persons do not think of themselves as volunteers, but as citizens - citizens in the fullest sense; partners in civilization,’” noted Pam Stuper, Caroline Ruth Thompson ’02 Head Coach of Field Hockey. “Undoubtedly, current Yalies continue President Bush’s legacy as citizens. Our field hockey team, along with student-athletes from various other varsity sports, join Assistant Football Coach Larry Ciotti and Sports Publicity Assistant Director Sam Rubin ’95 in an effort to register hundreds of potential marrow donors every year. We are honored to be part of saving lives in Mandi Schwartz’s name and I am proud of my team for honoring her life and legacy for the past decade.”

The drive itself is part of the “Get in the Game. Save a Life” program, a nationwide effort that includes more than 100 schools. Mandi Schwartz, who played ice hockey for the Bulldogs, was diagnosed with cancer in her junior year in 2008. While a perfect match was never found for her, Schwartz’s search inspired thousands to sign up as potential donors for bone marrow, according to Yale. To date, over 7,500 people have been added to the “Be The Match” database thanks to these student-athletes, which includes the field hockey coaching staff and all 21 currently rostered athletes, five of which are freshman who also registered in 2019. The team has been involved every year from start to finish, from the planning stages to assisting potential marrow donors with the registration process on the big day. Together, they have played a major role in identifying at least 58 life-saving matches.

“Time is everything,” said Brooke Reese, Yale senior striker. “As a Division I student-athlete, you dedicate time to your sport and you dedicate time to school. For me, having the opportunity to dedicate a little more of my time to potentially give someone else a little more of theirs has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Yale. For the past four years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer on the committee that organizes the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Registry Drive each spring. When you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life, at Yale or even in your own, you take it and you cherish it. I am honored to have had the opportunity to learn about Mandi, meet her parents, meet other families and friends looking for a match, and spend a little time making a difference in a different atmosphere than the classroom or the playing field!”

The drive is simple to sign up for. Potential donors get a cheek swab, which is then sent for testing once registrants complete their sign up process. Despite rain in the forecast this year, the team was all smiles morning and afternoon last week on Yale’s Cross Campus and the Yale School of Medicine’s Harkness Hall, fighting for a noble cause that has helped the centuries-old university grow to host one of the largest “Be The Match” drives in the United States.

“The Mandi Schwartz Marrow Drive is an amazing event that Yale Athletics has the opportunity to organize,” added Sarah King, sophomore midfielder. “After Mandi's initial diagnosis, Yale put together a registry drive in effort to find a match for her. Now, we still work tirelessly each year to add more and more people to the ‘Be the Match’ registry in honor of Mandi, and to try to find those life-saving matches for others. This year was no different - despite rainy weather, we were still able to add many more from Yale to the registry. Yale has consistently been able to provide matches and donors due to the wonderful diversity of our campus and efforts of athletics, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help organize this incredible event.”

While the drive may be over on campus, there are still plenty of ways for interested individuals ages 18 to 60 to join the Be The Match Registry®. At any time, individuals can log on to the Be The Match website to sign up or for more information, such as myths and facts about donating marrow and general medical guidelines as a potential donor. The Bulldogs also set up a SMS service for interested parties, where you can text “YaleSaves” to 61474.