FARMINGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The University of Maine at Farmington women's soccer team has joined forces with Be the Match bone marrow registry to host an event called "All for Ally," in hopes of finding a bone marrow match for Univesity of Southern Maine women's soccer player Ally Little.
Ally Little, a sophomore, was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, which is a condition where the body stops producing the cells necessary to maintain a healthy and strong immune system.
There is currently no cure for this disease except for a bone marrow transplant. As a result of her condition, Ally is unable to play any sports.
UMF's women's soccer coach Molly Wilkie said that although her team and USM's soccer team are state rivals, when she heard about Ally's condition, they "jumped on board" to do anything to support her. Wilkie spent the day talking to students about registering and informing them of how the donation process works.
To register, the students were asked to fill out some paperwork regarding their heritage and health. After signing documents agreeing to donate if a match is made, they were then directed to a table where they were given four cotton swabs in order to swab the insides of their mouths.
If a match is made, there are two ways in which a donation can be made: one, to extract and donate stem cells from the blood stream, and the other, to undergo a surgical procedure removing marrow from the hip bone. A doctor would determine which method is best.
Paul Greenier is a recruiter for Be the Match, and he's worked with the organization for 21 years. He got involved after his daughter received a bone marrow transplant that saved her life.
He said that a donation is basically "sharing a little bit of our healthy immune system with somebody that's got a broken one. And if everything works right, you can save a life."
A total of 139 students registered to become donors at the event. To find more information on registering to become a bone marrow donor, go to www.bethematch.org.