Red Devils Rally for a Pair of Special Causes
Community comes together for local Special Olympics and bone-marrow drive
April 10, 2013
Rachel Smolskis '16 leads a procession of students from local schools.
The local Special Olympic Games were held under sunny skies at Dickinson's Biddle Field on Thursday, April 4, gathering more than 400 athletes, 350 buddies and more than 100 volunteers for a range of Olympic-type sporting events.
From the Dickinson community, 145 student-athletes were on hand, as were 10 coaches and athletics staff and administrators.
"As a coach at Dickinson and a former student-athlete here, I can tell you firsthand that it has always been an important part of the Red Devil athletics experience to give back," says Tim Marshall, assistant men's lacrosse coach.
Presented by the Mechanicsburg Area School District and hosting participants from eight other local schools, the Local Special Olympic Games featured sporting events such as running/walking/wheelchair racing events, high jump, turbo javelin and shot put.
There was also an Olympic Village where the Special Olympians took part in activities with high-school student groups who volunteered.
Giving back through participation in events such as this is a tradition on campus, and it's one that students and staff are happy to join each year.
"Whether it's volunteer service-like the 2006 lacrosse team trip to New Orleans after Katrina-or helping out at the Special Olympics this year and last, we take pride in each and every opportunity we have the honor to take part in," says Marshall.
The next day, Dickinson partnered with the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation and the Be the Match Foundation to host a bone-marrow donor registry drive.
Organized by Red Devils football, the donor registry process involves a simple cheek swab, which takes only a couple of minutes to complete. The samples are then logged into the Be the Match registry, which is used by doctors to find matches for patients in need of bone-marrow transplants.
Event planners were shooting for a goal of 200 donors, but they ended up with 260.
"I knew our players would do a great job spreading the word," says Joel Quattrone, assistant football coach and associate director of athletics. "Our football program was thrilled to have the opportunity to help facilitate an activity that could potentially save someone's life."
According to the Be the Match Foundation, a bone-marrow transplant is the best or only hope for more than 12,000 patients in the United States diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma each year.
"It's an honor to take part," says Quattrone, "and the kids responded in a big way."
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