By now, anybody that hasn't been living under a rock or in a cave for the last few months knows about the story of Vikings' defensive end Kenechi Udeze. Shortly after the end of the Vikings' 2007 season, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and has been placed on the reserve/non-football illness list, which means we won't see him on the field for the Beloved Purple until at least 2009, if even then. Naturally, BKU's health comes first and foremost, but I'd love to see him back on the field again.
I'm sure that many of you out there have had your lives touched by leukemia or some other form of cancer at some point. . .it's a disease that affects a lot of people. Even though we're more familiar with Kenechi's case because of the fact that we watch him play football every Sunday during the fall, there are many other cases of leukemia affecting families throughout America right now. Udeze will be getting a bone marrow transplant through his brother. . .a very fortunate circumstance for him, as less than 30% of all leukemia victims manage to find a matching donor.
Fortunately, we can start trying to tip the percentages a little more in the good guys favor by joining the National Marrow Donor Program (click on that spiffy little banner on the right there). Donating marrow isn't a painful process, contrary to what some TV shows will lead you to believe. All that will happen when you sign up for the program is you'll get a cheek swab in the mail. You'll do the swab and send it back. At that point, you'll be part of the registry, and able to be called to duty should the situation merit.
Now, usually there's a fee for joining the National Marrow Donor Program. However, with the "Thanks, Mom" campaign they're running from now until 19 May, the signup fee will be waived for the first 10,000 online sign-ups. As soon as hit the "Publish" button on this post, I'll be making my way over there to register myself, and I hope that many of you will do the same.
I'd like to give a shout out for bringing this to my attention to Stephanie Stradley from AOL Fanhouse's Vikings blog, who relates her own personal story about her sister's battle with leukemia and the folks at Vikings War Cry. If you go ahead and sign up from here or from either of those sites, let us know about it by leaving a comment on one of the sites. It will be great to see how many Viking fans out there step up in an effort to make a difference.
Thanks for your time, everyone. I know I promised football talk today, but something like this has to take precedence, I would think.