Women’s Water Polo Impact Felt Outside the Pool

Women’s Water Polo Impact Felt Outside the Pool

Harvard women's water polo has been active away from the pool, recently hosting a bone marrow donor registration drive (Gil Talbot). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's water polo team has been active in its off-season, recently hosting a bone marrow donor registration drive in coordination with the Be a Hero, Become a Donor (BAHBAD) Foundation.

BAHBAD was founded in honor of Evan Cousineau, a fellow swimmer and water polo player, who fought a brave battle against a rare neurodegenerative disease called Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). During his treatment, Evan had hope for a cure because of a bone marrow transplant, which opened his family's eyes to the tremendous need for donors in this and all areas of donation. Now, the Cousineau family and BAHBAD work with a non-profit organization called DKMS, that helps add donors to the National Bone Marrow Registry.

The Crimson felt that college campuses could be a prime resource for BAHBAD and DKMS as the student population is both young and diverse. The goal is to help every patient find a unique donor who matches their genetic profile, and the more diverse of a registry that is collected, the better chance these patients have at finding a match. Harvard was able to add over 50 new potential donors to the registry and spread the word about what it really means to donate. The Crimson also wanted to dispel the misconception that it is a painful or complicated process to help donate.

"Many people that we talk to at these events are surprised to learn that the most common form of donation is in fact not very different than that of giving blood", said sophomore Haley Bowe. "Not only that, but it is very rare- and therefore a tremendous honor- to be matched with a patient at all.  Donor registration events like these are very easy to run--just a small amount of time and effort on our end can give an absolutely invaluable gift to someone in need".

For anyone who is looking to register, there is a form on DKMS.org that can be easily filled out. For more information, please visit www.bahbad.org. Also, if you're interested in running your own donor event on campus you can contact BAHBAD's college outreach coordinator, Kelsey Suggs, at bahbad.college@gmail.com.

"We are so grateful to all the people that stopped by, swabbed their cheeks, or just listened to us talk about the cause", Bowe said. "Stay tuned for an event run by the men's water polo team in the spring!"