The diagnosis of cancer can be a sudden and devastating blow — especially when it comes at such a young age and to such a healthy, active individual.
As the Associated Press reports, Ohio State freshman pitcher Zach Farmer had been feeling sick for about a week before he went to see the team doctor. He thought he had mononucleosis, but instead, a blood test found abnormalities in his blood. His diagnosis? Acute myeloid leukemia. As a result, the young man is missing the remainder of the baseball season as he undergoes treatment.
However, less than two weeks after the announcement, Zach’s team stepped up in the most incredible way in order to get their fellow Buckeye back on the mound.
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Led by senior captain Tim Wetzel, 37 players, two coaches, and other officials signed up to have their bone marrow tested in an effort to find a match for Zach — just in case a transplant is ever needed, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
“As soon as we learned Zach’s diagnosis, I told Coach about this,” Wetzel (who’s been on the national bone marrow registry for 18 months) told the Dispatch. “Everyone was on board with this. This puts the game of baseball into perspective. This is more about the game. Winning and losing is important, but right now Zach is in a battle for his life. We’re trying to help get him through this.”
On their day off from baseball practice, the team went to the doctor’s office to have their cheeks swabbed and to fill out the appropriate forms for the national Be the Match bone marrow registry.
As Yahoo! Sports notes, even if no team member is a compatible match for Zach, just by being on the national bone marrow program means that they could potentially help someone else in the country who’s fighting the disease.
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According to the Dispatch, Farmer has undergone his first round of chemotherapy at The Ohio State James Cancer Hospital; if he goes into remission, he will become eligible for a potentially game-changing bone-marrow transplant.