In March 2009 Alex Mele, a 15-year-old high school baseball player from Longwood School District, was suffering from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant at Stony Brook University Hospital. Working with the national bone marrow transplant donor database organization, DKMS, Hospital social workers and Alex’s family called a press conference to raise awareness and to recruit donors to attend future donation events to try to identify a match for Alex.
Approximately 20 members of the 2009 Stony Brook Seawolves baseball team, including Coach Senk, participated in a bone marrow drive for Alex and had their cheeks swabbed to register into the donor database in support of this aspiring young ball player. Among them were 2012 College World Series team starters Tyler Johnson, Sal Intagliata and Patrick Cantwell.
Sadly, Alex Mele did not live long enough to be matched with a donor.
However, this past February, Seawolves Pitching Coach Mike Marron was contacted by DKMS and was told that he was a preliminary match for a patient in need of a bone marrow transplant. More testing followed and after several weeks, Marron was informed that he was a 100 percent match. In March he took a short break in the early part of the team’s historic season to undergo a blood platelet extraction procedure for an anonymous patient diagnosed with leukemia whose best chance at survival was a bone marrow transplant.
When Alex Mele’s father Lou heard that someone from the Seawolves baseball team was a match for another patient thanks to his son, he was incredibly touched and expressed sincere thanks that Marron and the Seawolves baseball team was there for Alex and stepped up to help others.
“Tragically Alex Mele did not find a match in time to have a fighting chance against this deadly disease,” said Marron. “But his legacy is such that because of him, many donors are now in the database, and also because of him, someone has a better chance for survival and possibly a long and robust life because he inspired me to register. Seven hours out of my life is a small amount of time to give for possibly saving someone’s life.”