Western Kentucky is Looking for a Bone Marrow Donor for Alyssa Cavanaugh

  0 Braden Keith | October 30th, 2018 | College - Women's Indoor, Conference USA, News

Western Kentucky University is asking their fans for help for a cause much more important than sports.

Over the next week, at its intercollegiate athletics events, the school will be holding a bone marrow donor registry event to try and find a donor for former Hilltoppers All-American volleyball player Alyssa Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh was preparing to start her first season as a professional player overseas when she was diagnosed with cancer – specifically Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

Now the school is asking for fans to give back to a player who gave so much in her 4 years at Western Kentucky y registering to become a bone marrow donor in hopes that one might match Cavanaugh.


  • Thursday – Women’s Basketball Exhibition vs. West Virginia State – 6 p.m. CT
  • Friday – Volleyball vs. FIU – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday – Men’s Basketball Exhibition vs. Kentucky Wesleyan – 2 p.m. CT
  • Sunday – Volleyball (Senior Day) vs. Florida Atlantic – Noon CT

Registry tables will be set up by every normal entrance used for each sport’s home events in Diddle Arena and will be ready for fans when gates open. The doors for the women’s basketball game and the two volleyball matches will open an hour out while the doors for Saturday’s event will open at 12:30 p.m. CT. Registry tables will stay open to sign up throughout the duration of each event.

Fans can use their phones to text “Cure154” to 61474 to begin the sign-up process. QR codes will also be posted that fans can scan. Additionally, laptops will be available for anyone that doesn’t have a smart phone in hand.

The online registration process takes less than 10 minutes. Once registered, a cheek swab kit will be sent to your address within 3-7 business days. When the kit arrives, swab the inside of your cheek and return it then sit back and wait to be called if you are a match.

Anyone between 18-44 years old is the best donor candidate as research has found donors in this window provide the highest transplant success.

1 IN 430:
About one in every 430 Be The Match Registry members in the United State go on to donate to a patient. WKU Athletics will give a free, red shirt reading “I believe in Alyssa Cavanaugh” and “#Win124” (similar to WKU Volleyball’s new warm-ups) to the first 430 individuals that complete the registration process to be a potential donor at this week’s events.

Seventy percent of patients in need of a bone marrow transplant depend on the Be The Match Registry for a live-saving donor match because only 30 percent of the time is a donor match found within the immediate family. Cavanaugh is among that 70 percent in search of a donor with no matches found in her family.

A patient’s likelihood of having a match, available donor on the Be The Match Registry ranges from 76-97 percent depending on race and ethnicity.

Bone marrow can be donated two different ways. The more common approach – used 75-80 percent of the time – is an outpatient procedure similar to donating platelets or plasma. Between 20-25 percent of the time, a surgical, outpatient procedure is used.


  • Alyssa Cavanaugh – a 2017 WKU graduate who was a four-time All-American on the Lady Topper Volleyball team – was been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on Sept. 5, 2018.
  • Cavanaugh is now undergoing treatment at a facility in her hometown of Louisville, Ky,. as well as a center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Anyone wishing to send cards can address them to:

Alyssa Cavanaugh
10804 Meeting Street
Prospect, KY 40059

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of VolleyMob.com. Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined SwimSwam.com as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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