Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Temple's Marc Schaffer gives back
By Matt Fortuna
Marc Schaffer had registered for a bone marrow drive during his freshman year at Temple. Five years later, this past March, the graduate extern athletic trainer for the football team received a call asking to help a young male battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"I didn't really have an initial reaction," Schaffer said. "Once you get that call, to me it's no longer how I feel. It's about that person and that family. That's what my reaction was: I'm getting this call to help someone."
For Schaffer, the decision to donate stemmed from a national college football movement led by Villanova coach Andy Talley, with Temple screening a record 630 possible donors while under former head coach Al Golden. On a more personal level, Schaffer was donating in honor of former Owls equipment manager Michel'Le Daughtry, who passed away in March 2011 following a three-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
The team's bone marrow drive in April 2010 was dedicated to finding a donor for Daughtry.
"It was definitely with her in mind, because she had passed away in 2011," Schaffer said. "And I knew she was behind everything."
Schaffer had to get blood work done to determine that he was the best match for the patient in need. Once confirmed, he underwent a physical one week later and set up for the procedure, receiving daily injections to increase his stem cell count.
One week later, in early April, Schaffer underwent the peripheral blood stem cell procedure. He was fully awake for the process, which lasted for nearly five hours and is a lot like donating blood, except with blood going back into the body after it is filtered and the blood stem cells are removed.
Schaffer will have to wait 90 days to know if the procedure worked for the recipient, and it will take a year before Temple Hospital tells him who he helped.
But the 23-year-old returned to Temple's practice the next day, where he resumed his duties of helping out with the sports medicine staff while in pursuit of a master's degree at the school, this after receiving his undergraduate degree in athletic training in 2011.
He encourages others to join the registry, saying that phone calls like the one he received in early March are often the last options for patients in need.
"You're on the list for a reason," Schaffer said.