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Final “Get in the Game. Save a Life.” Results In; Yale Drive Leads Nation

(photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
(photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With the final numbers now in from across the country, Yale has officially led the nation in potential life-saving marrow donors added to the Be The Match Registry® through the "Get in the Game. Save a Life." campaign. Yale's total of new registrants at its drive, named in memory of women's ice hockey player Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011), was 396. The second-best total was 331 from Michigan State. The "Get in the Game. Save a Life." campaign included more than 100 colleges and universities this year.

This year "Get in the Game. Save a Life." as a whole added nearly 8,000 potential donors to the Be The Match Registry®. Most of the drives were held in April, including the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale (Apr. 18), though some schools held them in May or other months.

This was Yale's 11th year participating in "Get in the Game. Save a Life."  The Bulldogs' drives have now added more than 7,500 people to the Be The Match Registry® and identified at least 59 donor matches for patients with life-threatening illnesses. Four Yale teams organize the drive each year -- field hockey, football, men's soccer and women's ice hockey.

Yale's drives have posted remarkable numbers ever since the first one in 2009 yielded more than 700 registrants. The record up until that point had been 630. The Bulldogs eventually shattered their own mark with 921 registrants in 2010.

The "Get in the Game. Save a Life." program started in 1992 at Villanova under the guidance of head football coach Andy Talley. The program, involving college teams organizing drives on their campuses, has resulted in tens of thousands of potential donors being tested. Larry Ciotti, a longtime assistant football coach at Yale, is a friend of Talley's and brought the idea to New Haven in 2009.

The registration process is simple -- filling out forms and swabbing cheeks -- and takes approximately 15 minutes. Once an individual has joined the registry there is no need for her or him to join again. Each year, the Bulldogs must find hundreds of new donors.

The Yale drives started shortly after Mandi was diagnosed with cancer (acute myeloid leukemia) in December of 2008. She inspired people to sign up as potential marrow donors throughout the U.S. -- and in her native Canada and beyond -- to save her life. However, she was never able to find a perfect marrow donor match. In September 2010 she had a stem cell transplant, designed to give her a new immune system to help beat the cancer, using two anonymously donated units of umbilical cord blood. A biopsy in December 2010 indicated that she had relapsed, and she passed away at home in Wilcox, Sask., on Apr. 3, 2011 at the age of 23.

With the new additions to the registry, there is no doubt that the number of lives saved through Yale's efforts in memory of Mandi will continue to grow well beyond 59.


2019 "Get in the Game. Save a Life" Registration
Top Five Totals

  1. Yale 396
  2. Michigan State 331
  3. Duquesne 317
  4. Villanova 254
  5. James Madison 239


Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity