A Perfect Match

BY Meredith Mason
Report From Newport: Fall, 2013

A day after graduating, Bryant Ostrander ’13 becomes a bone marrow donor.

Bryant Ostrander, ’13, an accounting major and football player, had a fairly routine schedule last spring. Wake up, go to class, work out at the gym and hang out with friends. But a few days before Easter vacation, Ostrander’s usual schedule was interrupted by an unusual call from the Rhode Island Blood Center, who told him he was a possible bone marrow match for someone with cancer. After some tests, Ostrander was told he was second on the donation list.

A year ago, Ostrander registered to become a bone marrow donor when Be the Match came to campus to recruit volunteers. For the past two years, the Salve Regina football team has worked with Be the Match Foundation to match members of the Salve Regina community with those in need of a bone marrow transplant. Marrow donors are constantly needed to save the lives of patients with diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia.

Ostrander met the ideal donor qualifications of a healthy athlete between the ages of 18 and 22, and, at the end of April, he received a call that he was the best choice for the match. He was injected with the first of five shots May 20, the day after his graduation ceremony.

“The procedure was basically painless,” Ostrander says. “With the shots I received, the nurses said I might feel like I had the flu and would experience little aches and pains and have trouble sleeping, but going through preseason football camp was a lot worse than going through the bone marrow donation process.”

Ostrander was told that the recipient of his bone marrow donation was an older woman, but because of a confidentiality agreement, that was the only information he was given. “They want to keep it totally confidential; however, if bother parties agree, in a year I can get her information and she can get mine,” Ostrander says.

After undergoing a four-hour final procedure to collect his white blood cells, Ostrander said he was glad he had the opportunity to sign up for the marrow donation with the football team. “In all of my years of playing football, this was the most important thing I have ever done,” he says. “It was a great way to end my playing career.”

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