Penn, Wofford players are bone marrow matches
(STATS) - Penn safety Sam Philippi was named the Ivy League's defensive player of the week on Monday, and that wasn't the best news he received this week.
Wofford's Dave Howerton is this week's special teams player of the week in the Southern Conference, yet he's content with missing at least the next two weeks of the season.
Each player hopes to help a person who's in need of a bone marrow transplant. Through the "Be The Match" bone marrow donor registry drive, they are donating bone marrow for the life-saving treatment for people with leukemia, lymphoma and many other types of diseases and blood disorders.
Philippi, a sophomore from Coto de Caza, California, was honored by the Ivy League for a key interception in last Saturday's win at Brown, and then he learned this week he's been found to be a match after participating in Penn's bone marrow registry in March. He will donate bone marrow to a 30-year-old leukemia patient in early December once the Quakers' season ends.
"God gave me this opportunity to help a person that I don't even know," Philippi told the Philadelphia Daily News. "But it's not just affecting him. It's affecting his family and the people around him. I can't let them down. It's a blessing. It's not something I'm worried about (doing). Whatever I might have to go through, it's nothing compared to what they're dealing with. It's a chance I'm willing to take."
Howerton, a senior from Asheville, North Carolina, registered during a drive at Wofford in the spring. Doctors discovered he was a match, and he anonymously donated bone marrow on Monday - the same day he was honored by the Southern Conference for blocking a punt and recovering it in the end zone for a touchdown in last Saturday's win over Mercer.
"It was a long process, but I knew that I was doing the right thing," Howerton said. "(Missing games) was an easy decision to make when you consider how much you can help another person. I am sacrificing a little bit to help a person who is going through a fight for their life. I appreciate my teammates, coaches and family for their support during this process."
The Be The Match registry includes the "Get in the Game" initiative that was started by Villanova coach Andy Talley, whose foundation has since partnered with over 50 other schools to register more than 61,000 potential donors. It's led to over 260 transplants since 2008.