WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – During the season of giving, many think about the material gifts. However, one family wants to encourage people to give the gift of life and donate bone marrow.
William and Mary Football Coach Mike London leads his football players to success on the field. So, he’s no stranger to tackling tough situations. One of his biggest challenges has been off the gridiron as a father.
“I found out that my daughter Ticynn had Fanconi anemia,” said Coach London. “It is a rare blood disorder that impacts your ability to fight off infection.” According to St. Jude’s Hospital, the likelihood of a child being born with this rare blood disorder is about one in 130,000 births.
In 2003, Ticynn was admitted to John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. “In that moment, as a child,” said Ticynn. “I couldn’t really process what was going on, but I heard those words, and I thought I was dying.”
Coach London says the doctors could not find a match on the national registry or anyone in their family. However, there was one person who hadn’t been tested.
“When the doctor says you’re a match,” said Coach London. “A perfect match for your own child and the odds of that. I feel truly blessed. A miracle was definitely experienced in my life and I know in hers.”
Now, the family has their own campaign to educate and encourage more people to donate bone marrow. They partner with organizations like Be the Match to host bone marrow drives whenever they can.
“I’ve been blessed,” said Coach London. “So it’s my turn and opportunity to reach out and try to bless others. That’s what we do, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Ticynn is living a full life. She was a student-athlete and graduated from college. Now she is a sports athletic trainer for high school students in Suffolk. She says the Bible verse Joshua 1:9 keeps her inspired.
“Be strong and courageous, and that’s how I live my life,” said Ticynn. “Being strong in anything, I do and not being afraid. You just have to live your life to the best of your abilities.”
Overcoming this challenge has forever changed Tycinn’s life and Coach London’s life.
“What’s most important is the legacy you lead with being a father and a husband and someone that is trying to help others,” said Coach London.
To learn more about donating, CLICK HERE.