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David Glen Discusses PBSC Donation Process

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David Glen

Jan. 29, 2014

Photo Gallery | Glen's Match Means Second Chance for Someone Else

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore men's hockey forward David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) met with members of the media Wednesday, Jan. 29 after concluding the five-day peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation process Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The assistant captain underwent the procedure after learning he was a match through the Be The Match-facilitated Match4Kim Drive, which was held in support of Penn State men's lacrosse player's Drew Roper's mother, on campus November 2012.

According to Be The Match, the five-day PBSC donation is a non-surgical procedure and is one of two methods of collecting blood-forming cells for bone marrow transplants. A 7-10 day timetable is typical for recovery for most PBSC donors and mild bone pain can result due to the excessive stem cell crowding within the bone marrow.

Glen missed the Nittany Lions' game against Boston College and will not play this weekend versus Ohio State due to the procedure.

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Q: What was the process like and how are you feeling?
A: Yeah, I'm feeling a little bit average today I guess, but it was kind of what I expected and the symptoms they thought would happen are happening. I guess we're done now and it's just about recovery.

Q: What's the feeling been like during this process?
A: Exactly like I said it is kind of come and go. You get kind of pain deep in your bones and headaches and that sort of thing but it is sort of come and go. Sometimes I feel perfect and [other times] not so great.

Q: Is it like the flu?
A: A little bit. It didn't help that I actually got sick right before it, so that probably didn't help me at all. Not too much flu-ish, just sore and kind of worn out.

Q: A few weeks ago Coach Gadowsky said you were sick as a dog and were still playing. Was that impacting the process and maybe a chance everything would be put on hold?
A: I actually got strep throat last week and I was a little bit worried that things wouldn't go according to plan, but luckily enough I was able to catch it in time where it didn't get too severe and I was able to still do the process.

Q: When you signed up for the bone marrow test for Drew [Roper's] mom, did you think this could be the outcome?
A: Honestly no, not really. I thought that we might as well get tested and maybe we can make a difference there, and unfortunately they're still looking for a match for his mom which is obviously a pretty sad story. But I'm happy I was able to be a match for someone and able to help someone else out that's looking for a similar process.

Q: Were you thinking that there was a possibility of helping someone else out or were you just focusing on one person's mom?
A: Yeah, I mean when we went there, there were so many people that you didn't actually think that you would actually be the one picked for it. Now that it happened I'm obviously happy it did. It's too bad, like I said, that we were unable to help his mom. I actually got an email from Mr. Roper that was just encouraging me and supporting me through the process and, like I said, they're still looking for their match and I'm happy to be someone else's.

Q: What was the whole timeline like? How did you find out that you were a match and how long was that before you went?
A: The first time I found out that I might be a match was about last spring. I had to do some other blood testing. It kind of got more serious toward November and December, and in December we found that I would be the match and be able to donate.

Q: What was the process like for you? Can you take us day-by-day all the steps you went through?
A: It was a five-day process so the first day I was doing it at [Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital]. It's about an hour and fifteen [minutes] from here. So I went there and the first time they do some blood tests and they do an injection and then the next four days are just injections daily in the morning. It was to promote the white blood cell count and that kind of thing so they are able to harvest it. It was just sore and worn out and tired. Yesterday, we went back to the hospital and did our last round of injections. They hooked me up to a machine with one needle in one arm and one in the other. You're kind of a human circuit. They harvest what they need for about six hours hooked up to the machine and then I was on my way.

Q: What are your emotions through all of this?
A: It's been a range of emotions. When I first found out, it was shock; after I found out what was involved, I was obviously excited. The support I've received through social media and emails has been more than I could ever imagine, especially with the game on Saturday. Going out on the ice was a special moment for me. I really didn't think anything like this would be happening. I'm just excited to have had the opportunity and be able to help someone out.

Q: What did you think of the crowd's reaction when they announced your name?
A: I was really not expecting that at all. It's just an honor to be out there with our THON child, Colton's family. Those are the guys that are really going through a hard time; those are the guys that deserve the cheers. To hear it for myself was obviously special, too.

Q: Do you know anything about the person you're helping?
A: I think she's about a 50-year-old woman and that's the extent of it.

Q: Do you know where she's from?
A: No. I have no idea.

Q: Is that by your choice?
A: It's a confidentiality thing. That's really all I'm allowed to know. I know the type of cancer she has, but not off the top of my head. They told me that and that's really all I know.

Q: Coach Gadowsky put a lot of emphasis on the sign in the crowd that said "David Glen: The Ultimate Assist." What were your thoughts on that sign and the student outreach?
A: It's really special. I tweeted at him and I was actually able to meet him. I met him yesterday and I showed him around the rink. It was special for me. He took a lot of time out of his day to do that and think that up. I was able to give him a little tour which he was really excited about. It was a really special moment for me.

Q: How were you feeling when it was time to talk to Guy [Gadowsky] and tell him what the plan was?
A: I was nervous, obviously. At that point, I didn't know a timeline of how long I would be out or how many games I would be missing. We were both kind of in the dark so I was a little apprehensive at first. After talking to him, he was completely different. He was excited and on board right from the beginning. He's been nothing but supportive and pumped for me. Every time I've talked to him he's been excited. He's been great through the whole thing.

Q: What were your teammates' reactions when you told them what you were doing?
A: I think everyone had kind of heard through word of mouth. I told everyone at a meeting last week that I actually would be doing it this weekend and missing the games. All the guys have been really supportive. They understand that it's obviously worth missing a couple games in order to save someone's life. Everyone's been supportive through texts. They've kept me going through it, especially when I was sitting there yesterday. They tried to keep me entertained while I sat there for so long.

Q: What's the timeline of when you can get back on the ice in terms of practicing and feeling well enough to be able to do that sort of activity?
A: I was hoping to actually skate maybe today or tomorrow. Just to loosen up a bit by myself. I'm not feeling quite up to it, but it's kind of day by day for now. I hope to be skating in the next few days.

Q: How is your energy level now?
A: A little low. It was kind of a long day yesterday. It was an early morning, too. We left at 6 a.m. to get there, so that played a role. After sitting there all day, I could hardly keep my eyes open last night. I'm doing okay and recovering pretty well.

Q: You were awake for all of this. What did you do to pass the time?
A: I had my one arm I couldn't move, but I was on Twitter with the other one. My mom and girlfriend came with me. They were watching TV with me and keeping me entertained. It's kind of a long process when you can't move your arm.

Q: Was it similar to giving blood?
A: A little bit. The one arm was just kind of an IV so it wasn't too bad, but they kept the needle in the other arm the whole time. It's a big kind of steel thing that you're nervous about moving. I guess it's a little more painful than donating blood.

Q: What arm was it?
A: It was my left arm that was stuck.

Q: How surreal is it to watch the apparatus and the circulation outside your body?
A: It was kind of neat, actually. I used to not be very good with needles, but it was really neat. I took videos so you can see it move from one arm and go through all the tubes; I thought that was kind of neat.

Q: A few days and a few missed games for you leads to a life being preserved. Is it such a big idea to wrap your head around?
A: I'm just so fortunate to be given this opportunity. Like you said, a few games is well worth the sacrifice to give this lady a second chance to live her life and beat her struggle with cancer. It's a sacrifice, but in the long run it's nothing.

Q: Going back to last spring when you started the whole process, was there ever a point where you questioned it?
A: I really didn't know a lot about the procedures. I did some research myself. The Be The Match registry was really good about having information sessions and pamphlets and brochures in order to inform me. I took it to the training staff and doctors here and everyone was pretty good about it. I had to explain it to my parents because they were kind of in the dark. Everyone was really good about it. They informed me of what it would take and what the repercussions would be.

Q: What was your parents' reaction the first time you told them?
A: They were a little apprehensive. They're a long way away, too. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, which is a long way from here. That's a little tough. I'm not able to call them on my phone, actually, so it was a little tough to explain that I'm doing this procedure. They didn't know a lot about it. My dad said that, too. They had a lot of research to do for themselves before they were completely on board. But, after they found out what I was doing and that I was able to give someone a second chance, they were really on board and supportive. They were excited about it, but they're probably happy it's over now.

Q: What are your thoughts about seeing a room full of people asking you about something like this?
A: It's crazy. The response from this has been more than I could have ever imagined. Through Twitter and emails, I've had so many stories of people just supporting me. People have even told me their own stories surrounding bone marrow transplants and how it's saved someone in their life, or their own life. Even during the game, I got a message saying `I'm at the game and I just wanted to let you know I've gone through this procedure and I just wanted to thank you.' It's been so special.

Q: Has this made you more aware of this type of procedure and this type of cause, and are you planning on doing anything else with that?
A: Absolutely. We all went there as a team to try to be the match for the lacrosse player's mom. But, now I really see that you can make a difference. I encourage people to get tested and maybe they can be a match. It's definitely worth the time.

Q: The hockey community in the U.S. has been pretty aware about bone marrow because of [former Yale University women's hockey student-athlete] Mandi Schwartz. How good does it feel to be part of the hockey community and make a difference toward a cause that's so close to them?
A: The Mandi Schwartz thing was so huge over in Canada, especially where I'm from. I know my roommate, Kenny Brooks, was roommates with her brother, Jaden. One of my friends from home is really good friends with the Schwartz family, so that hit pretty close to home for me. From what I understand, Mandi had the same type of leukemia as the lady I'm helping, so that's special for me to have something closely related to her.




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