Falcons Linebacker Laces Up for Be The Match

Paul Worrilow made a name for himself this year with the Atlanta Falcons. The 230-pound linebacker led the team with 127 tackles, and was recognized for his grit and determination on the field.

Off the field, that same grit and determination helped potentially save the life of a 23-year-old female battling leukemia.

When Paul was a sophomore in college, he and his teammates joined the Be The Match Registry® as potential marrow donors. To his surprise, four short months later Paul was identified as a match for a young woman in desperate need of a marrow transplant. He never hesitated - determined to follow through on his commitment - and went forward with the donation in May of 2011.

Stepping Up to Save a Life

On average, 1 in 500 Be The Match Registry members go on to donate to a patient in need. In Paul's case, the patient's physician requested a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. This is one of two methods of collecting blood-forming cells for marrow transplants. PBSC donation is a nonsurgical procedure, called apheresis, which is similar to donating platelets. Prior to donating, PBSC donors receive injections of a drug called filgrastim to increase the number of blood-forming cells in their bloodstream.

"I was excited about the opportunity to potentially help someone," recalls Paul. "The donation itself was smooth. I don't remember any pain or soreness." Paul returned to football and his regular activities just days after the donation.

Lacing Up for Be The Match

Now in the offseason, Paul is making an effort to share his donation experience and helping raise awareness about Be The Match®. He's forming a team to participate in the upcoming Be The Match Walk+Run in Atlanta on April 26. The 5K, 1K and Tot Trot raises funds to support marrow transplant research, help patients with uninsured treatment costs and add more volunteer potential marrow donors to Be The Match Registry.

Join Paul's team  or find a Walk+Run city near you.