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Be The Match Recognizes Individuals and Organizations for Support, Recruitment Efforts

November 12 2012

Individuals and organizations from across the U.S. were recognized by Be The Match® on Nov. 9 at the nonprofit organization’s 25th Annual Council Meeting in Minneapolis.

Be The Match, which is based in Minneapolis, helps patients in need of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants who are often battling life-threatening illnesses like leukemia or lymphoma. The nonprofit organization also operates the Be The Match Registry®, which is the world’s largest listing of potential bone marrow donors and donated cord blood units. Over the past 25 years, Be The Match has made more than 50,000 transplants possible.

Be The Match’s 2012 Awards recognized a range of exceptional contributions, from recruiting potential marrow donors to raising public awareness and funds. This year’s winners include:

  • Leadership Award – Dr. Edward Feller of Brown University in Providence, R.I., for spearheading educational and recruitment efforts at Brown to help patients in need of marrow transplants. Inspired by his wife, Wendy, who received a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia, Dr. Feller motivates students to raise awareness of Be The Match, conduct recruitment drives and to consider cellular transplantation as a career option.
  • Volunteerism Award – Barbara Lucas of Chandler, Ariz., for organizing an army of more than 100 volunteers called “Brigid’s Brigade” to recruit bone marrow donors around the greater Phoenix area. “Brigid’s Brigade” has registered thousands of potential bone marrow donors, adding about 300 new registry members at each drive.
  • Volunteerism Award – Diane Shapiro and Audrey Maschino, both nurses at Jewish/Mercy Partners Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, for founding the annual Southern Ohio Soccer Marrowthon. Since the Soccer Marrowthon’s first year in 2009, the event has raised more than $85,000 and registered 710 people as potential marrow donors.
  • Public Advocacy Award – Walgreens, for their ongoing recruitment and fundraising efforts on behalf of Be The Match. Walgreens managers in the Southeastern United States have organized recruitment initiatives and fundraisers, including a series of fundraising events featuring “Fire Truck Pulls” at 44 stores that raised $12,000 and increased awareness about blood cancers.
  • Innovation Award – Steve Raboin of Chino Hills, Calif., for his unique partnership with the Los Angeles Kings. Shortly after losing his son Tanner to a rare immune system disorder, Raboin partnered with the Los Angeles Kings who had just won the Stanley Cup. Raboin and the Kings kept Tanner’s legacy alive through donor registry drives, the team’s tagline of “Do It For Tanner” and the creation of the “Tannerhead” – a cut-out of Tanner’s face wearing his Kings cap with information about marrow donation on the back that Kings fans carried across the nation.
  • Partnership Award –, one of the largest organizations in the United States for teens and social change, for its effort to recruit thousands of young, committed bone marrow donors by hosting “Give A Spit” recruitment events at universities across the country. In the last year, has helped add more than 6,000 students to the Be The Match Registry.
  • Partnership Award – “The Texas Pardners,” a group of five Texas donor centers, including the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program, South Texas Marrow Donor Program, Scott & White Marrow Donor Program, Baylor Marrow Donor Program and Cook Children’s Marrow Donor Program. For more than 20 years, the Texas Pardners have worked together to share ideas about recruitment, donor management and fundraising to support Be The Match’s life-saving mission.
  • Awareness Award – Victoria Choi and her family of Decatur, Ga., for addressing the need for diverse bone marrow donors by adding more than 600 Koreans to the Be The Match Registry and raising more than $6,000 toward the costs of adding new potential donors to the registry. Victoria is scheduled to receive a transplant to treat severe aplastic anemia this month.
  • Philanthropy Award – United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company, both headquartered in Detroit, Mich., for their commitment to donating more than $700,000 to Be The Match and for inspiring more than 4,400 employees to sign up as potential bone marrow donors. So far, nine employees have gone on to donate bone marrow to patients as a direct result of their recruitment efforts.
  • Philanthropy Award – Lisa Korslund of Edina, Minn., for her commitment to helping other patients in need of unrelated transplants. After receiving a transplant to treat leukemia, Korslund created a fundraising team – the MUD (Marrow Unrelated Donor) Bloods – and has since raised more than $35,000 for Be The Match and inspired more than 130 people to be a part of the MUD Blood teams for Be The One Runs® in Minneapolis and Atlanta, Ga.
  • Jeffrey Mark Harris Achievement Award – Becky McCullough of the Marrow Donor Program at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston, for her dedication to Be The Match over the last 20 years. McCullough helped found the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program, leads a staff that recruits thousands of potential bone marrow donors each year and lends her expertise to several Be The Match committees.

“Thousands of patients rely on Be The Match to find a marrow match and to help lift the weight of mounting expenses,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of Be The Match. “The dedicated, unfailing efforts of each of our award winners help us meet this expectation with a positive answer. Every registry member, every contributor and every volunteer can be someone’s cure.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos of award winners are available upon request. Please contact Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg at 612-455-1749 or