Penn State hockey player to miss games after donating bone marrow

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Penn State forward David Glen is making a big difference in someone's life. (Mark Selders, Penn State Athletics)
Penn State forward David Glen is making a big difference in someone's life. (Mark Selders, PSU Athletics)

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Hockey players are often lauded for their selflessness and team-first mentality. Penn State sophomore forward David Glen is taking it to a whole new level, though. His team-first mentality goes beyond the walls of Pegula Ice Arena and the hockey team's roster.

Glen, the team's leading goal scorer last year, is going to miss the Nittany Lions' next three games starting with Saturday's contest against No. 2 Boston College. It's all part of a sacrifice he's making for a teammate he's never met and may never know.

The Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, native will be undergoing a procedure to donate bone marrow after discovering he was a match through the national bone marrow donation program Be The Match. Glen participated in a Be The Match drive that was part of a drive in order to help a Penn State lacrosse player's mother in November of 2012.

"Last year, Drew Roper's mom was looking for a bone marrow match, so our whole team went and got swabbed," Glen told gopsusports.com. "Unfortunately none of us were a match, but they keep you in their database. I got a call last spring telling me that I might be a match for someone else."

"He asked to talk with me and I had no idea what it was about," said Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky. "He came in and told me that he was a [bone marrow] match for someone and, if he went through with it [donating], he would be missing a few games...He didn't think twice about it and neither did I. We are very proud of the way he has handled the situation."

Here's more from Penn State:

Glen will begin the peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation process Friday, Jan. 24 when he travels to Geisinger-Bloomsburg (Pa.) Hospital. Glen does not know the identity of who will receive the donation.

According to Be The Match, the five-day PBSC donation is a non-surgical procedure and is one of two methods of collecting blood-forming cells for bone marrow transplants. A 7-10 day timetable is typical for recovery for most PBSC donors and mild bone pain can result due to the excessive stem cell crowding within the bone marrow.

The Penn State hockey team is in the midst of a historic season. In just the second year since varsity hockey returned to campus, the team opened its new multi-million-dollar facility named for benefactor and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. The team also opened play in the inaugural season of the Big Ten's hockey conference.

The 22-year-old alternate captain will miss the Boston College game Saturday and is expected to be out for next weekend's conference series against Ohio State.

Despite all that excitement and the fact that there are crucial games ahead for the 4-14-1 Nittany Lions, one of the team's veterans is showing just how much of a leader he really is.

"You never know when you are going to get the opportunity to help some like this and you never know if it is going to happen again," Glen said in his interview with gopsusports.com. "This is a rare opportunity that I am grateful and fortunate to have been chosen for."

Glen has two goals and three assists this season after a 16-goal, 25-point performance last year as a freshman.

Coincidentally, the St. Louis Blues will beat Yale University for the women's hockey game at Ingalls Rink tonight. The team is there in support of Blues forward Jaden Schwartz , whose sister Mandi, a former Yale hockey player, lost her battle to cancer in April 2011.

Tonight's game against Brown University will be the fourth annual “White Out for Mandi” game, which doubles as a fundraiser and chance to raise awareness for the need of bone marrow donors, specifically through Be The Match.

The Blues will also hold an open practice this afternoon at Yale and then be on hand for the game to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.

According to the Washington Post, 3,852 donors have been added to the national registry thanks to efforts driven in the memory of Mandi Schwartz with 21 matches found.

So not only does Be The Match get a great event at Yale with the Blues, they can point to people like David Glen to show just how important it can be to get tested and give someone a chance at beating cancer.

 
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