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Staley helps raise awareness for the “Be the Match” registry

Staley's 56-year-old sister Tracey Underwood was diagnosed with Leukemia last year.  Tracey was...
Staley's 56-year-old sister Tracey Underwood was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. Tracey was fortunate to find a donor match in her brother Lawrence.(WIS)
Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 8:08 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley teamed up with PYNK Butterfly Salon to raised awareness about bone marrow donation within the African American community.

On Saturday, in Columbia, was the PYNK Summer Sizzle, a Be the Match Donor event. It featured great food, music, and, more importantly, awareness for a critical mission.

The Gamecocks women’s basketball coach co-sponsored the event to support a cause close to her heart. Staley’s 56-year-old sister Tracey Underwood was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. Tracey was fortunate to find a donor match in her brother Lawrence.

Far too often, as Staley notes, African-American’s struggle to find a match for a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

According to the Institute for Justice, only 34-percent of African-Americans available to donate are willing—the lowest among the four listed groups of people on the website. And only 25-percent of the time do African-Americans find an unrelated match.

So, Staley and PYNK Butterfly Salon owner Jessica Reese are raising awareness to join “Be the Match” with events like Saturdays.

We caught up with Staley on the basketball recruiting trail to discuss the significance of the event.

“When you’re aware of what’s happening out there or not happening, you tend to dive in,” Staley said. “And Jessica dove in.”

“Her [Staley] whole story of her brother [Lawrence] being a 10/10 match was amazing,” said Reese. “That’s amazing. That’s rare because many people in the African American community are not able to find a match so quickly. This was a great opportunity to raise awareness to get people on the registry and possibly becoming a match for someone to save their life.”

“You need positive thinking,” added Staley. “You need something positive when you’re going through it. If you know you have a high likelihood of getting a match, it helps you.”

“I hope through indirectly with what my family has gone through that we can raise the national level to a place where people feel really good about if they are diagnosed with leukemia.”

You can help save a life by registering today on BetheMatch.org.

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