Get in the Game with Be The Match

BC Athletes Seek to ‘Expand the Registry’ of Bone Marrow Transplant Matches


Stormi Nuckoles

Amy Schatz and volunteers conduct cheek swabs of BC students. More than 12,000 patients each year are unable to find suitable donors within their community, and they rely on donors to help save their lives and give them hope.

Stormi Nuckoles, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- On March 30, the Bridgewater College football team partnered with the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation to host an event called Be The Match. Students came to get cheek swabbed in the Rebecca Quad to test if their marrow is suitable for the cause and to ensure they have no health issues.

Be The Match is a nonprofit organization founded in 1986 that helps those with blood diseases and cancers receive bone marrow transplants.

2022 is the first year that Bridgewater College AthStoriesletics has joined in on the program. Head Football Coach Scott Lemn orchestrated the event with Community Engagement Account Manager for Be The Match Amy Schatz. Volunteers from the BC Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the football team and the tennis team made the event happen. 

Schatz led the student volunteers in teaching them how to conduct a cheek swab in addition to the overall process. Shatz has been a part of Be The Match since 2019 and worked as a transplant coordinator at UVA for the first two years of her time with the organization. She received a bachelors degree in Medical Humanities and Biology from Baylor University – where she graduated in 2016.

“Be The Match is dedicated to helping those with blood cancers and diseases, such as leukemia, receive necessary, life-changing treatment through bone marrow transplants,” said Schatz. “Without Be The Match, many people would be unable to receive necessary treatment to save their lives.” 

As for the process, donors come to Schatz or one of the volunteers and scan a QR code to begin the process. First, the donor registers online and completes a short series of health questions. Then, the donor is able to conduct the cheek swab.

The swab itself takes less than five minutes to conduct. The donor swipes once upward and downward on the inside of their cheek ten times, and then repeats the process on the other side with a different swab. 

The swab is then packaged up and sealed to be sent for examination. The donor finishes up their registration by signing off that the cheek swab was completed and by checking that they permitted the swab. 

The cheek swabs are sent out for examination to determine if the donors are a match for any of the clients on the waitlist. If there is a match, the organization reaches out to the student via their profile and through email to ask for their consent for a bone marrow transplant. 

“We need people to donate to expand the registry,” said Lemn. “We need to get people involved because the list for transplants is not nearly long enough to match the need.”

According to the Be The Match website, for many people who have blood cancers and diseases, the only way for them to be treated is through a bone marrow transplant or a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. The procedure for bone marrow transplants is a surgical one that does not take long and is completely painless. A peripheral bone stem transplant, while also painless, is a nonsurgical approach that takes typically eight hours to complete. 

Scott Lemn is seen in the Rebecca Quad promoting the Be The Match Campaign. He encourages any and all students, faculty, staff and anyone in the Bridgewater community to register as a donor.
(Stormi Nuckoles)

Those who conduct a cheek swab will remain in the system as a possible candidate for five years. However, many of those who conduct a cheek swab will not be chosen as a match. Because the match rate is not high, Be The Match relies on as many people willing to donate as possible. 

Be The Match requests that donors be between the ages of 18-35 and prefers a diverse group of individuals, especially those of different ethnicities. 

If you missed the event, you can still join the registry at


Bone Marrow Donation Process, Be The Match,