Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On Thursday, the University of Montana football team will scatter through the campus to recruit students and others on the campus to participate in the ‘Be the Match’ registry, which helps find potential donors and connects them with patients throughout the country.

KGVO News spoke to Eric Taber, Associate Director of Athletics at the University of Montana about the program, which has been in effect since 2013 when now Assistant Coach Justin Green helped to save the life of a nine-year-old girl by donating blood platelets.

Grizzly Football Players will be Recruiting Donors for the 'Be the Match' Program

“This is a great call and it's something that Coach Hauck has really got on board with since he's been back here at Montana,” began Taber. “It's just for a great cause and hopefully someone else out there and around the world where the Grizzlies and folks who sign up for this program will help save someone's life. So it's an important deal and it's a great cause and it's got a nice football tie-in as well which coach Hauck really loves and we love, as well.”

Taber provided more information about the ‘Be the Match’ program.

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Coach Hauck has known Coach Talley for Many Years

“The National Marrow Donor Program is an organization that matches patients around the country with potential donors,” he said. “They've partnered with the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation. Andy Talley was the head coach at Villanova back when the Griz played Villanova in the national championship game. Hauck has known coach Talley for a long time and so the Talley Foundation has partnered with the National Marrow Foundation.”

As the Grizzly football team scatters across campus on Thursday, they will be actively seeking students and others who are interested in being a donor.

“Basically what they do is they go out within their communities, and in our case its the University of Montana community and they get folks to sign up and register to be a potential donor,” he said. However, it's not like you're signing on the dotted line right now. They just swab your cheek and then if you could be a potential donor to help save somebody's life, then they'll contact you and they'll go through that process.”

The Football Team will be Actively Signing up Potential Donors on Tuesday

Thursday will be the day when the Grizzly football team may be doing some of the most important work in their young lives.

“Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the entire Griz football team will be out and around campus,” he said. “They'll be in the UC (University Center). They'll be out in the Oval, and they'll just be there encouraging the campus community to sign up for this Marrow Donor Registry. Basically, they'll be able to swab their cheeks and then that person would then go into the registry, and if somebody out there in the world just happens to be a match with anybody that signs up, they'll be contacted to potentially be a donor.”

After taking a two-year break due to the COVID pandemic, over the last two years, the Grizzlies helped register over 200 members of the University of Montana campus community to the ‘Be the Match Registry’, far surpassing the team's goal of 70 new sign-ups each time.

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