University of Florida sophomore becomes Gift of Life's first marrow donor from Campus Ambassador Program Recruitment Drive

Top Quote UF student Michael Cizek donated bone marrow to man battling leukemia. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 13, 2016 - On the November day when Michael Cizek swabbed his cheek on the University of Florida's campus and joined the Gift of Life Marrow Registry, he never dreamed that only six months later he'd be called as a match. His marrow was needed to save the life of a 52-year old man suffering from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

    Cizek, a finance major, had registered at a donor drive organized through Gift of Life's Campus Ambassador Program (CAP), making him the first bone marrow donor resulting from a CAP drive.

    "He is my dad's age, and I can't imagine living life without my dad," said Michael. "If he was in the same shoes I hope someone would donate for him. After learning about the procedure and praying, I felt at peace that this is something I should do. Once I made that decision, I was 100% in. I am rich in health and this man, about my dad's age, is poor in health, so why can't I give my richness to him?"

    Michael did exactly that, flying with his mother to the collection center at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to donate bone marrow. "I was concerned about the donation process being painful, but my experience was completely the opposite," said Michael. "I had a few days of soreness, but was back on my feet and back to normal right away. I was happy when it was done; I donated the full amount needed. I was walking around, eating and drinking and the doctor said, 'Why are you still here? Go home!'"

    Michael had the support of his family, and has had incredible positive reactions from his friends and fellow students, finding that they are curious about the process and about how his recipient is doing. Michael won't receive an update for several months, but he'd like to meet his recipient someday. Donors and recipients may only communicate via letter for the first year due to federal restrictions on contact. After the year passes, if both agree, they may meet in person.

    Michael joined the registry during a drive organized by the Gift of Life Campus Ambassador Program (CAP) for the University of Florida. In the CAP program, college students across the country have a great opportunity to contribute - and build useful career skills. CAP interns receive training in how to organize and manage events, while reaching out to the most requested group of donors in marrow registries. The history of marrow donations shows that those between 18 and 25 years old are called upon more often, so reaching out to the population of young adults through the CAP program is of huge importance in building the numbers of lifesaving bone marrow and stem cell donors.

    For more information about the Campus Ambassador Program, visit

    About Gift of Life
    Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives and facilitating bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit

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