Olive’s stem cell donation makes impact off the field – Bryant University Bulldogs

By daniellenierenberg

SMITHFIELD, R.I. Stephen Olive was one of nearly 100 Bryant Football players that took part in the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation's "Get in the Game. Save a Life" program in March of 2018.

A simple cheek swab was all it took to be entered into the database and possibly become a donor.

It wasn't the first time the Bryant Football team had taken part in the program. Taylor Janoskie, a four-year member of the football team and a member of the Class of 2016, was one of many to get their cheek swabbed in 2013. Seeing the post on Twitter in 2018, Janoskie reached out to inform the football program that he had matched and had donated bone marrow in February of 2017, helping save the life of a 52-year old man with two children.

"If anybody that got swabbed today is a match," Janoskie wrote, "tell them without hesitation to donate because saving someone's life is an incredible feeling."

Olive matched and three years later, on May 6, he made a donation to help save the life of a patient with Leukemia.

A hulking 6-6, 285 pounds, Olive couldn't donate bone marrow due to back surgery he underwent as a freshman with the Bulldogs. Instead, Olive donated stem cells. He received shots to overproduce stem cells for five days, culminating in his visit to Roger Williams Hospital in Providence to complete the donation.

"I donated because this man's life depended on it," Olive said. "Very rarely do people have the opportunity to be able to make this kind of a difference in someone's life."

Going to the hospital was made a bit more difficult, however, due to the covid-19 pandemic. Olive had to put his fears behind him.

"Cancer wasn't going to put itself on hold just for the pandemic," Olive said. "It's still out there killing people, so I had to swallow any fear I had of Coronavirus and just do it."

The donation took five hours and included a pre-donation physical and a central line into Olive's neck.

It was during his physical that Olive received another sign that he was doing the right thing. His doctor had a brother who passed away waiting for this type of donation.

"My doctor didn't believe people just go out and save lives, he believed God put people in the right place at the right time and uses them as tools to save people," Olive said. "Very rarely do you get to be that tool."

For more information about the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, click here.

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Olive's stem cell donation makes impact off the field - Bryant University Bulldogs

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