By Jeff Todd
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Quinton O’Donnell has a rare lineage and that’s making it hard to find the match he needs to beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I was a sophomore in high school. I, for about three months, had a lot of fatigue. Things became really hard for me. I was diagnosed in 2015,” said O’Donnell. “I’m a searching patient right now on the bone marrow registry. With very little effort someone can save someone else’s life.”
The 20-year-old was raised in Boulder and is now a sophomore at CU. On Friday night he was honored in the middle of the CU football game with the game ball. Hopefully making a point to the 50,000 people inside Folsom Field to register and become a bone marrow match.
“It can be really hard to find a match. It needs to be very precise and there’s also a lot of people that don’t know about this cause,” O’Donnell said.
Bone marrow donation registration has been a passion project for CU football and Head Coach Mike MacIntyre.
“There’s nothing invasive about it, you literally just sign some paperwork do a cheek swab, get a free pen then you’re out,” said Derek McCartney who donated marrow in 2016. “They told me I was a 10-out-of-10 match for some guy and I was like wow that’s crazy.”
McCartney saved a life, he’s teaming up with O’Donnell and Be the Match, the national bone marrow donor program, to try and save more.
“I would still do it again because it’s just an amazing experience and now I have a friend named John Steele who I donated to,” McCartney said. “I just want people to understand be the match is something you don’t need to be scared of, it’s something that is beautiful.”
O’Donnell is taking a break from chemotherapy and radiation; he’s been through 10 rounds combined. He’s hoping to find a match.
“I’ve had the experience of not being able to find a match and I know how hard it is. I need to get this life saving medical treatment and I’m currently not able to because I can’t find a match,” O’Donnell said.
LINK: Be The Match Buffs | Text “buffs” to 888111
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.