Our Story

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Where We Started

Villanova Head Football Coach Andy Talley started his non-profit foundation in November 2010. However, Coach Talley’s involvement in providing opportunities to join the NMDP Registry began nearly two decades earlier, in the fall of 1992, after becoming aware of the devastating odds facing those needing blood stem cell or marrow transplants.

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Each year, tens of thousands of patients diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia or lymphoma, find themselves in desperate need of a transplant.

The chances of a patient finding a family-related donor are only 30%, leaving most patients to rely on an anonymous donor from a registry.

With access to ninety young, healthy football players, Coach Talley began his mission to educate and promote awareness about the importance of marrow donor registration by holding his first on-campus testing in the Jake Nevin field house at Villanova University. Coach Talley and his team registered over 200 student-athletes and coaching staff from the Villanova University community that fall.

Coach continued to organize registration drives on the Villanova campus over the ensuing years, tirelessly raising funds from independent donors to cover the cost of tissue-typing kits (which now consist solely of a cheek swab). Then, on one spring day in 2008, Coach Talley received a phone call from Be The Match®, who wanted to partner with Coach Talley to expand his on-campus drive efforts. Together, they formed the “Get in the Game” (GITG) initiative.

Over the past fifteen years, Coach Talley has enlisted over 250 other college football programs to participate in GITG. Each program hosts their on-campus donor drives each spring.

The football players span the campus, educating and recruiting people to take the cheek swab test and registering themselves as potential blood stem cell or marrow donors on the registry. Since 2008, GITG registry drives have added over 200,000 potential donors. More importantly, over 1,300 transplants have occurred with GITG donors! Because of our GITG program, over 1,300 patients have been given a second chance at life they and their families desperately hoped for!

 

Adding Donors…Saving Lives…One Campus at a Time!

Our Mission

The Mission of the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation is to increase the odds of finding lifesaving donors for patients in need of a marrow or blood cell transplant by registering young, committed and diverse donors to the NMDP Registry.

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