Towson Times: Wiltondale Warriors Bone Marrow Drive

Wiltondale Warriors Cross Finish Line With Bone Marrow Drive

Once again I love hearing (and sharing) stories about good people doing great things in our community.

Last summer, I learned that the Wiltondale Warriors swim team has made a rule of coordinating at least one team-wide “giving back” activity each season, such as challenging competing swim teams to see who can bring in the most canned goods for a food drive.

With a roster of about 200 swimmers on their team alone, the Warriors have been able to make a real splash with contributions to the Assistance Center of Towson Churches (ACTC) food pantry.

“While swimming and having fun, I also want to instill a sense of commitment to community,” said Sara Barber, codirector of the Wiltondale Warriors swim team. “What better way to show the kids how doing something small when done all together can become something big.”

This year, the Warriors also hosted a bone marrow drive at their final swim meet of the season, on July 8. The event was held in honor of pool member and Knollwood resident Andrew Mercier, who has been busy kicking leukemia’s butt since Easter.

While Andrew does not need a bone marrow transplant, his family members, friends and fans hope to help educate lots of folks on blood cancers and ways in which they can help patients in need. Getting on the bone marrow registry is one important action.

Wiltondale resident Steve Nuetzel sits on the board of There Goes My Hero, the locally-based organization that runs the events. Nuetzel and Barber had a discussion about the bone marrow registry earlier in the summer, and that spawned the idea to coordinate a registry drive as one of the Wiltondale Warriors’ special give-back events.

Barber asked the Merciers if they’d like to be involved, and they agreed; they also volunteered at the drive.

Swim team parents, neighbors, former swimmers and coaches rallied, with more than 60 people getting swabbed and signed up for the registry.

Enthusiasm for the drive at Wiltondale Pool created a rippling effect. Now, the Stoneleigh Pool has decided to hold an event of its own! On Friday, Aug. 30, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., there will be a “Swab a Cheek, Save a Life” drive to recruit potential bone marrow donors.

It is not a swim team or pool event, but rather a community opportunity to make a difference. It only takes about five minutes to register.

A simple cheek swab collects the data necessary to set up registrants on a global network that can pair leukemia patients with life-saving bone marrow donations.

Each year, thousands of patients with blood cancers and disorders are able to survive because of bone marrow transplants made possible by matched donors. The more donors registered, the more successful matches that can be made.

Why not dive into the pool of registered donors, and see if you are the match that just might save someone’s life? Find out more at