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Ohio State baseball players step up for cancer-stricken teammate

- May 14th, 2014

After learning freshman Zach Farmer was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia, his Ohio State Buckeyes teammates did more than rally around the young left-hander.

They swabbed.

In an effort to see whether anybody was a candidate to be a bone-marrow donor for Farmer, Buckeyes players and staff members lined up Monday to have their DNA tested with a swabbing kit. All 37 of them.

The gesture goes beyond trying to help Farmer, diagnosed two weeks ago. Each team member is now committed to being a donor on the national bone-marrow transplant list.

It was an initiative led by senior captain Tim Wetzel — a player deserving of his designation — who joined the donor list 18 months ago in hopes of helping the mother of a classmate’s friend.

“As soon as we learned Zach’s diagnosis, I told coach (Greg Beals) about this,” Wetzel told the Columbus Dispatch. “I’ve been on the national registry for a year-and-a-half. One of my classmates at Ohio State had a friend’s mom who needed a transplant. I wasn’t a match for her, but I was a match for someone else a year later. I did all the testing. I was told the man didn’t need the transplant. Hopefully, he was in remission.”

Wetzel added: “Everyone was on board with this. This puts the game of baseball into perspective. This is about more than the game. Winning and losing is important, but right now Zach is in a battle for his life. We’re trying to help get him through this.”

Beals is proud of his team.

“We’re trying to support our teammate and brother Zach Farmer,” he said. “We’re also trying to get participation in the registry. Hopefully, we get a match for Zach. What he is latching on to is being back in this dugout and playing for Ohio State. He signed up to be a Buckeye, and there is a common thread. It is voluntary. We didn’t say, ‘We need to do this.’ It was a no-brainer for the guys in the locker room.”

If you wish to be a donor, you can join the Canadian registry here, or the American registry here.

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