Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers linebacker and BC ’11, returned to campus this weekend for his Boston College jersey retirement ceremony. Prior to laying number 40 to rest, Kuechly partnered up with the Project Life Movement and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to register BC students to the national bone marrow registry.
The registration began on on Oct. 20 and ran through Oct. 22. Throughout the week, over 800 people registered to be on the National Bone Marrow Registry. SAAC and the Project Life Movement hoped to get 1,040 people on campus to register. They originally set their goal at 1,000, but because Kuechly’s number while at BC was 40, they added 40 more students to their goal.
On Thursday, volunteer student-athletes and the Project Life Movement set up tables on Stokes Amphitheater. They moved the tables to the Academic Quad on Friday. Kuechly stood at the table on Friday, encouraging students to sign up and posing for photos.
“I think that student-athletes are an important part of the student body at BC,” Ymke Goté, a member of the field hockey team, said. “They are role models in a sort of way. If they participate, hopefully other students will follow.”
Kuechly also serves as a national spokesperson for the Project Life Movement. He is involved in radio spots, on posters, and in online campaigns.
“I think that student-athletes are an important part of the student body at BC. They are role models in a sort of way. If they participate, hopefully other students will follow.”
—Ymke Goté, a member of the field hockey team
“We picked this date this weekend because we knew he would be back on campus for his jersey retirement, so it kind of just fell hand-in-hand,” Devaun Bovell, the president of SAAC and MCAS ’17, said.
On Saturday, SAAC and the Project LIfe Movement set up tables outside of Alumni Stadium before the football game. According to Bovell, the turnout was lower than expected because of rain. They also had to cancel the registry after the game due to the weather.
To register, students had to fill out personal information forms and complete a cheek swab.
The partnership between SAAC, Project Life, and Kuechly began this past summer when Bovell met a representative from Project Life Movement at an ACC conference. The Project Life Movement has been recruiting universities across the country to hold registration events.
The Project Life Movement targets college students because their bone marrow is often healthier and they are able to stay on the registry until they are 55 years old.
According to the Project Life Movement’s website, patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and other blood cancers and diseases are those who normally are in need of bone marrow donations. Currently, however, 60 percent of patients who need a donation cannot find a match.
The program began at Davidson College 26 years ago. Since then, 25 other universities across the country have joined the Project Life Movement.
“There really was no reason not to do it,” Kuechly said about his position as a spokesperson to The Charlotte Observer. “I don’t have a foundation or a deal like that. And it’s for a good cause, obviously.”
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor