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Marrow donor Michael Mushaw goes from lifesaver to actor

Five years ago, Michael Mushaw was playing football for Central Connecticut State University when he joined the Be The Match Registry® through the Get in the Game. Save a Life®. recruitment program. Little did he know at the time that he would not only get a call to donate, but also to appear in a movie.

“I don’t think that when I signed up, that I was expecting to have to go through the whole program. I thought I probably would never hear about it again,” Michael said. But a year later he received a call telling him he was a match for a very young girl in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant.

When she was a baby, Eleanor was getting recurring infections. She was just a few months old when she was diagnosed with a very severe immunodeficiency. She needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life—and Michael was her match. 

Michael didn’t have to think twice before saying yes. “It was a no-brainer,” he said. “Once you realize how much you can impact someone’s life just taking a month being limited in what you can do, it’s a great feeling.”  

The transplant was a success and Eleanor got healthier as the weeks went on. Today, she is 4 years old and Michael has been a constant part of her life, watching her grow up and talking to her almost every week. 

“All the cards were stacked against her at just five months and to consider what she’s overcome.” Michael said. “When you’re going through something tough, just realize that it could be worse.”

A few years after his donation, Michael got another call. This time it was a movie producer asking him to play a role as a registry recruitment manager (on a college campus coincidentally) in family-friendly movie about selfless acts of kindness. 

“I had to make sure it wasn’t a fake phone call, so I read up on the project,” Michael said. “I just want to help spread the word about bone marrow donation. People don’t know the impact they can have just by swabbing their cheek.” 

So, four years after his own marrow donation, Michael will continue to spread the word about saving lives in The Thursday Night Club debuting on Pure Flix November 1. 

In the movie, five college friends meet the father of their dear friend, an inspirational man whose legacy of giving inspires them to change their lives by helping others. A young woman who donates bone marrow to save a child’s life illustrates the importance of giving back—and the magic of powerful possibilities. 

Two-time Grammy winner and Mermaid on the “The Masked Singer” Gloria Gaynor plays a bone marrow transplant doctor in her acting debut; she has also recorded public service announcements to raise awareness about bone marrow donation. 

A workbook based on the movie will include information about Be The Match® and how to join the Be The Match Registry.

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