UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell spreads the word on bone marrow donation
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – For everything Sylvia Hatchell has accomplished on the court at UNC, it’s the life-saving work happening off the court that she wanted to highlight Thursday.
Hatchell, head coach of the women’s basketball team, joined her niece Thursday night in an effort to highlight the need for bone marrow donors.
Doctors diagnosed Hatchell with acute myeloid leukemia in 2013.
“The last few years have just been like nothing I ever would have thought or planned,” she said. “But, it’s just been amazing, what has happened.”
Hatchell was prepared to receive a bone marrow transplant as part of her treatment but ultimately didn’t end up needing it. However, she learned more about the need for donors. Since then, she’s urged people to join the national registry.
Her niece, Amanda Cooley, did that. She discovered she was a match for a boy living overseas and donated her bone marrow last month.
“It was very simple. It was, I have something that someone else needs, so let’s do it,” she said.
Hatchell says she knows of four cases where people who became donors in an effort to help her ended up helping others.
“In going through all that, it’s so tough. But, if I needed to go through that to save those other people’s lives, then it was worth it,” said Hatchell.
During Thursday’s game against Syracuse, Hatchell joined her niece at center court to share her story and urge more people to see if they’re matches for others in need.
She said, “I believe God’s sovereign, doesn’t make mistakes. There was a reason for me having leukemia. I never said, ‘Why did I have it?’ I said how but not why.”
Hatchell says she feels well, recently logging her 1000th win in December, becoming the third women’s Division I coach to accomplish that.
“But now, I’m healthy as can be. It’s been four-and-a-half years. But really, I’m healed. I’m cured. I’m great. I feel wonderful,” she said.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a donor, click here.
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