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Nov. 13, 2012
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--It only took minutes for waves of support and volunteers to begin flowing through Penn State's HUB Robeson Center on Tuesday afternoon in support of the Match4Kim swab drive.
The drive, which will be a three-day event, is in search of a bone marrow transplant for Kim Roper, the mother of Penn State lacrosse senior Drew Roper (Columbus, Ohio).
Participants interested in getting swabbed are encouraged to visit the Match4Kim information table located on the main floor of the HUB.
The swabbing process takes no more than 10 minutes, and simply involves a minimal amount of paperwork followed by four saliva swabs that interested participants administer themselves.
Tuesday's drive, scheduled from noon to 5 p.m., saw close to 100 hundred volunteers in its first hour alone.
"To see other athletes and students take time out of their day to come out here and help a fellow Penn Stater is truly warming," said head coach Jeff Tambroni of the men's lacrosse team.
"It is symbolic of everything that Penn State stands for."
The drive has received support from multiple campus and university organizations in its developmental and operational phases.
The Penn State Student-Athlete Advisory Board, field hockey team, athletic training student staff and Penn State Panhellenic Council has joined with the Roper family and the men's lacrosse team to search for not only a match for Kim Roper, but for the thousands of patients in need worldwide.
According to the National Bone Marrow Donor Program website, over 10,000 patients with diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia are in need of a transplant, but less than half of that number actually receive one.
"We're not only trying to help my mom out," said Drew Roper during Tuesday's drive.
"We have an opportunity to spread the word and help out so many other people that are in need."
Kim Roper was originally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2009. The cancer went into remission after radiation and chemotherapy treatments but this past September, the cancer returned and spread. The best option for treatment is inpatient chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Mrs. Roper has yet to find a bone marrow donor match.
Drew Roper stated that the drive and the Match4Kim effort had an initial goal of adding 1,000 donors to the national donor database throughout the three-day event at Penn State, but he now expects the number to climb well-above the initial prediction.
"The amount of support so far has been surreal," said Roper. "It means so much to our family to see how people will go out of their way to try to help us and others."
Several other Penn State athletic teams were represented at the drive in its early stages. Members of the field hockey team and softball team were seen getting swabbed as well as assisting the men's lacrosse team in raising awareness for the effort.
"Today has been a true representation of what the athletic department stands for in regards to the `One Team' campaign," said Tambroni.
"It's one thing to communicate it and articulate it, but it's another thing to actually come out and support other team's families."
Tuesday's edition of the swab drive will conclude at 5 p.m. but it is set to resume on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The drive is located in room 321 of the HUB Robeson Center.
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