Entire Auburn Volleyball team registers as potential bone marrow donors

Members of the Auburn volley team swab their cheeks for DNA that could determine if they’re a potential donor match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. Registration organizer Katherine Culwell pictured far right.

Last week, Auburn Volleyball was working on the saves that really matter: Lives.

At the suggestion of junior outside hitter Katherine Culwell, the entire team, including head coach Rick Nold, registered as potential bone marrow donors with the Be The Match organization, DNA cheek swabs and all.  The registration was facilitated by the Hudson Family Foundation, headed by Auburn baseball great Tim Hudson and wife Kim Hudson.

“We had Kim and Tim Hudson come to speak to the Student Advisory Council about the program, they’re kind of sponsoring it,” Culwell said.  “I thought it’d be a good idea to get the whole team to do it.”

For Culwell, it was personal.

“My boyfriend’s uncle was saved by (a bone marrow transplant), my dad’s friend was saved by it,” she says. “But everyone all kind of thought the same thing as I did. I mean, I would give blood for someone if it would save their life. Everyone got the big picture.”

And she says most of the time, the big picture doesn’t include big needles.

“If you’re a match for someone who has cancer or a blood disorder who needs healthy blood, you usually just get your blood drawn. Only about 20 percent of the time is it the actual bone marrow thing with the giant needles, which is what most people think about. That really doesn’t happen that much.”

Culwell says Be The Match is sponsoring a campus-wide registration drive in April.

“You’ll stay in the donor bank until you’re 61. So that means the members of the volleyball team have a chance to be a match for the next 40 years.”

Related: California volleyball standout commits to Auburn by painting AU logo on her African tortoise.

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