Sometimes being a teammate goes beyond wearing the same uniform and sharing the same clubhouse. Sometimes being a teammate is about supporting one another even when the lights are off and the seats are empty, and offering a helping hand when those in need may not have another place to turn. And it appears no team understands this concept better than the baseball players at Ohio State University.
A little less than two weeks after freshman pitcher Zach Farmer was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, his teammates, led by senior Tim Wetzel, are not only standing beside him, but they're going to bat for him as well by agreeing to have their bone marrow tested to determine if they're compatible donors in the event Farmer needs a transplant.
Senior captain Tim Wetzel, who has been a potential donor on the national bone-marrow transplant list for 18 months, told coach Greg Beals it would be a good idea to recruit the team. Farmer has had his first round of chemotherapy at The Ohio State James Cancer Hospital. He'll be eligible for a bone-marrow transplant if he goes into remission.
“As soon as we learned Zach’s diagnosis, I told Coach about this," said Wetzel, an outfielder from Mayfield Heights, Ohio. “I’ve been on the national registry for a year-and-a-half. One of my classmates at Ohio State had a friend’s mom who needed a transplant. I wasn’t a match for her, but I was a match for someone else a year later. I did all the testing. I was told the man didn’t need the transplant. Hopefully, he was in remission."
Wetzel was among first to offer his support following the diagnosis.
And now 36 other members from the team, including players, coaches and other officials, have joined the cause.
It's a remarkable show of support and unity. Farmer has only been a part of their "baseball family" for a relatively short time, but he's being embraced and supported like he's a member of every teammates actual family, which says a lot about the character of the program and the players who have come together to proudly the wear Buckeyes uniform.
All the initial testing requires is a simple swab. And even if they're unable to help Farmer, their names will go on the national registry in a matter of weeks, meaning they may be able to help someone else who's fighting the same battle. It's one small step toward possibily helping a teammate, but one giant step toward possibly helping dozens more around the country.
For that, we salute the Ohio State baseball team, and we certainly wish Zach Farmer and his family well.
If you'd like to add your name to the bone marrow registry, here's how you can get started.
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