Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Gophers holding bone marrow registry drive Wednesday

Posted by: Joe Christensen under TCF Bank Stadium Updated: February 13, 2013 - 8:54 AM

University of Minnesota athletes don’t have to look far to see the importance of bone marrow donors.

Longtime Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last June, and a bone marrow transplant from his brother helped save his life. Oakes is in remission and back coaching the baseball team, as Samuel Gordon writes in today's Minnesota Daily.

Gophers wide receiver Connor Cosgrove was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. He didn't need a transplant, but he has spoken to the team about the importance of registering healthy donors.

The football team and an organization called Be The Match are hosting a bone marrow registry drive on Wednesday from 1-4 p.m., in the Gophers locker room at TCF Bank Stadium.

The team has a goal of registering 1,750 new members and raising $10,000. To donate, click here. And here's some information on registering from

Be The Match focuses on finding potential donors ages 18-44, so it is critical that they register as many college students as possible. Their research shows that younger donors are best for patients because they provide the greatest chance for transplant success. Donors between the ages of 18 and 44 are asked to donate more than 90% of the time.

The registration process is quick, simple and painless. Potential marrow donors simply need to complete a registration form with contact information, health information and sign an agreement to join the Be The Match registry. Those who will be registering are encouraged to bring personal identification (such as a driver’s license or passport) and contact information for two family members or friends.

After the paperwork is complete, all potential donors have to do is have the inside of their cheek swabbed. Their information will be stored in the Be The Match registry. This is the national registry where doctors turn to when their patient needs a marrow transplant and there is not a known matching donor in the family.


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