SVSU assistant football coach donates marrow, helps patient with - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

SVSU assistant football coach donates marrow, helps patient with blood cancer

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(02/14/13) - He's an assistant football coach to many, but now he's also a lifesaver to one stranger.

SVSU's Josh Miller always gives blood, but last year was asked him to sign up for the national bone marrow registry.

It turns out he's the perfect match for someone with blood cancer, and he didn't hesitate to help. It is very rare for someone to find a bone marrow donor.

Only four out of 10 patients in the registry find a match, so Josh feels lucky to be called on to help.

At their annual athletic blood drive, Josh decided to sign up for the bone marrow and blood stem cell registry on a whim.

"You kind of forget about it, for me, six months later I got a call," he said.

After a few more tests, they discovered Josh is the perfect match for a middle-age patient with a blood cancer that impacts the immune system. The patient needed a blood stem cell transplant, so Josh headed to Grand Rapids for the procedure.

"You sit there, once you start you're not allowed to move, you got to have someone feed you, if you have a scratch on your nose you have to have someone scratch it for you," he said.

It took seven hours of being completely still, but it was worth it, and Josh said it didn't hurt at all. He's hoping to share his story with his team, and hopefully inspire more people to do the same and save a life.

"Eighteen to 30 year-old-males are the number one donors, which is obviously every college athlete male that's on our football team, to know they're the number one recipient, most needed, we get a good group of those guys to sign up and hopefully within a couple months or a year they could be the next one," Josh said.

Josh won't know who he donated to for one year and even then, he'll only find out if the patient wants to meet him. But he'll always know he saved a life.

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