Cubs Outfielder, World Series Winner from Villanova an MVP for Bone Marrow Donation
There was a 1-in-80,000 chance that he’d be able to help anyone, but Chicago Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur’s risky decision to try as a young athlete at Villanova has saved a life and inspired many others.
Just one month before his participation in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, Szczur, who played football and baseball for the Wildcats, endured “a several-day process to harvest the marrow,” as reporter Jack Magruder described it in a MLB.com report by Carrie Muskat.
Szczur’s donation was a first for the “Be a Match” bone marrow donor program at Villanova, and it saved the life of 15-month-old leukemia patient Anastasia Olkhovsky of the Ukraine.
That act has quietly followed Szczur through the ranks to the big league — until Magruder, whose wife is a recent bone marrow recipient, thanked him after a ball game.
“When he came up to me, it wasn’t that I saved Anastasia’s life,” Szczur said. “I gave hope to other people’s lives as well. I think anybody would do it in the right circumstance and given the opportunity. I don’t think I’m more special than anyone else. It makes me feel good — it gives us hope.”
Fresh off his World Series win, Szczur has a renewed platform to share about the need for more people to step up to the plate and become bone marrow donors.
“We are so grateful for our donor and for Matt and people like him who give selflessly so that others can confront and overcome serious health issues,” Magruder said. “They may not realize how valuable they are, but we do.”
Read more about the story behind Szczur’s bone marrow donation while at Villanova on MLB.com here.
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