MLB Player Inspired Baseball Fan To Save Life Of Leukemia Patient During Pandemic

Boca Raton, FL – While most of the country has been on lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, Gift of Life Marrow Registry donor Drake Jackson, traveled 1,000 miles to save the life of a stranger by donating his stem cells to a cancer patient in need of an urgent transplant. The 23-year-old was inspired by his hero and MLB professional baseball player Matt Szczur, who, in 2009 donated bone marrow to a young leukemia patient he had never met.

Jackson was an undergraduate at Illinois State University when he heard of Szczur’s heroic act. “I’m a Chicago Cubs fan and when I found out that Matt [who played for the team at the time] had made this incredible donation to save a life, I felt that joining the registry was an easy thing to do to possibly help someone,” said Jackson.

So, in November 2016, Jackson searched the internet and found Gift of Life Marrow Registry. He ordered a swab kit online and three years later he was called as a match for a patient battling leukemia.

Jackson was at work when Gift of Life’s call came. Undaunted by the growing pandemic, he traveled to Florida in March from Illinois to the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Gift of Life-Be The Match Collection Center to donate his lifesaving stem cells. “I encourage anyone to join the registry. It’s super easy and everyone at Gift of Life is amazing, said Jackson.”

After his procedure, Jackson connected with Szczur on social media and the two bonded over their experience as donors. So, when Jackson decided to shift his wedding—originally planned for May in Key West—online on April 22, Szczur’s participation via video came as a special gift.

“I was honored to have been able to give a child a chance to live out her life when I donated bone marrow all those years ago,” said Szczur. “To learn about the ripple effect of not only helping to save a life, but also inspiring Drake to do the same, is truly amazing. In these times of great difficulty, his story brings hope and a reminder that it takes just one person to make a difference.”

To join the Gift of Life registry from home, potential donors can request a registration kit at giftoflife.org/register.

About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org.