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Publish date: Apr 14, 2011

Rhode Island football player becomes a marrow donor

By Tom Symonds
For NCAA.org

University of Rhode Island junior offensive lineman Matt Greenhalgh became the latest college football hero when he completed a bone marrow donation Monday morning at the Rhode Island Blood Center in Providence.

Greenhalgh’s bone marrow donation may well help save a leukemia patient’s life.

Rhode Island’s Matt Greenhalgh completed a bone marrow donation on Monday.

The Chepachet, R.I. native joins several football student-athletes who recently have used national donor programs to affect lives. Rowan senior defensive lineman Matt Hoffman donated blood stem cells and missed the final game of his junior season in 2009 but was rewarded when he met the man who received them at the Stagg Bowl this past season. Villanova all-purpose back Matt Szczur donated bone marrow to a 19-month-old leukemia patient last year.

Rhode Island’s Matt began treatment to extract his bone marrow April 7.

“This has been the most gratifying thing I have ever done,” Greenhalgh said. “It just makes me feel so great to know that I have been able to help save someone’s life.”

Since head coach Joe Trainer’s arrival at Rhode Island in 2009, the Rams have hosted an annual bone marrow drive in support of the National Marrow Donor Program. Greenhalgh became a donor through this program two years ago.

On March 17, he was notified of his status as a perfect match to make a donation.

“I really just wanted to be a part of the registry and do my best to get people involved,” Greenhalgh said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be selected as a perfect match, but I am so glad to help.”

Greenhalgh with Rams coach Joe Trainer.

Through the marrow program’s privacy policy, Greenhalgh, who is a two-time all-Colonial Athletic Association academic selection, is only able to have anonymous written contact with his marrow recipient within the first year of making his donation.

“After a year, when I am no longer restricted to anonymous communication, I would certainly love the opportunity to meet him in person,” Greenhalgh said.

“It is truly amazing that Matt has been able to assist in such a worthwhile cause,” Trainer said. “Saving a life like Matt is doing is something he will remember forever. We could not be more proud of him.”

The Rhode Island football team will host its third annual Bone Marrow Drive on April 28.

Tom Symonds is a coordinator on the Rhode Island athletics communications staff.