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Baseball game aims to save lives and remember deceased teammate

Chip Cummings Field in Plattsburgh decorated with Brian Mehan’s initials and number in his honor. 
Brian Mehan crossing the feild in full catcher’s gear.

Chip Cummings Field in Plattsburgh decorated with Brian Mehan’s initials and number in his honor. Brian Mehan crossing the feild in full catcher’s gear.

Countless lives saved

Last year Doorey and Painter along with the baseball team held the first swab in May 2012. The event generated more than 200 possible donor submissions.

About three months after testing at the game, Painter got the call from Be the Match that he was a possible match for someone.

“I think this person could possibly have been waiting for a while for someone to be a match and I was fortunate enough to be a part of that,” said Painter. “They told me this man’s cancer could have spread while he waited for a donor.

“It’s not that I’m noble, I just signed up and my body was healthy enough for the transplant. I’m just lucky and proud to be able to say I did it.”

Painter said a donor must be a 99.9 percent genetic match, which is one reason it’s often difficult to match those in need with a donor.

Painter said his role as a donor was harder than he thought it would be in the beginning. Before he went into surgery he needed to have a “head to toe physical” to make sure he was healthy enough to do the transplant. In October he went through a four-hour procedure and spent two days in the hospital during his bone marrow retrieval where they put needles into his pelvis, leaving him with small scars on his back, in order to retrieve the marrow. After undergoing surgery, Painter was called back to donate plasma on April 15 in Boston. His role as a donor showed him how fortunate he was to be healthy and give the gift of life to a stranger.

“It’s a small sacrifice for me, I don’t have cancer and I don’t know anyone who can say their lives haven’t been affected by cancer,” said Painter.

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