Nick Tortoriello took part in Villanova football's annual Be The Match drive on campus last year, having his cheek swabbed and registering as a potential bone marrow donor. The Villanova sophomore, and a midfielder on the lacrosse team, underwent surgery this week to donate his bone marrow after being notified that his DNA was a match.
Like football star Matt Szczur before him, Tortoriello is answering that call and will hopefully be able to save the life of the currently-anonymous recipient of his donation.
On the lacrosse field, Tortoriello, appeared in five games for the Wildcats last season, taking one shot against Maryland. He had 101 career points and 54 ground balls at Hunterdon Central High School in New Jersey and was a first-team All-State honoree in his senior season.
Villanova has had an annual bone marrow registration drive for over two decades now, after Andy Talley heard a call from a talk-show oncologist, begging for donors. The first drive was held in 1991, with around 200 people added to the registry (including most of Talley's players), and now the drive -- called "Get in the Game, Save a Life" -- has expanded to over 30 other football teams, adding thousands to the donor lists every year.
Joining the registry requires just a quick cheek swab and a 15-minute questionnaire.
The odds of finding a match if you need a transplant are still woefully against the patients, which is why adding more people to the registry every year is important.