COBLESKILL — When information reached the SUNY Cobleskill Athletic Department that former Fighting Tiger lacrosse player Anthony Yevoli, an Amsterdam graduate, the 2017 Upstate New York NY/Vermont Leukemia and Lymphoma Society “Boy of the Year” and the 2016 North Eastern Athletic Conference Inspirational Award recipient was in need of a bone marrow transplant the department put a plan into action.
On Sept. 11, led by the men’s lacrosse team, the athletic program sponsored a “Be The Match” program to encourage students, faculty and staff to sign-up for the National Bone Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match Registry in hopes of finding a match and a potential donor for Yevoli.
Between on-site registration and on-line registration the program signed up over 200 potential donors to the registry on the afternoon. The turnout left a strong impression on new Fighting Tiger Athletic Director Marie Curran-Headley.
“The number of different students, athletes, coaches and staff members who came out to be tested as potential bone marrow matches for Anthony speaks volumes about the type of young man he is. While I have only meet Anthony briefly, I am truly impressed that over 200 people came out to be tested on his behalf. He is clearly an impressive individual and I hope that our SUNY Cobleskill community can help find a match for him.”
Yevoli was looking towards the 2016 men’s lacrosse season as a breakout year after a freshman season that saw him score seven goals, pass out two assists and scoop up 34 ground balls in 14 appearances as a midfielder. Upon the completion of the fall season, though, Anthony started having flu-like symptoms, which prompted an initial visit to his doctor.
Around Thanksgiving, his condition worsened to the point where he had to be admitted to the hospital. He would undergo a serious of tests, which shockingly revealed that he had contracted an aggressive form of Leukemia known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia and would have to immediately begin an intense treatment program. He was admitted to Albany Medical Center just after Christmas, where he would spend the next five months undergoing chemotherapy, drug treatment and bed rest to battle the disease.
Throughout that time in the hospital, he stayed in touch with his teammates and coaches in as many ways as he could, using social media, email, text messages and phone conversations to offer encouragement to his fellow Fighting Tigers on a near daily basis. While dealing with the ups and downs of his own situation; he kept encouraging his teammates and coaches to keep battling, as they went through a tough 2016 season. His support in the face of his own problems went a long way in inspiring the entire program to keep focused throughout the year.
In the spring of 2017 Yevoli returned to the Cobleskill line-up to score eight goals and pass out eight assists to go with 23 groundballs picked up for the season in 13 appearances. For his efforts he was named the lacrosse team’s 2017 Coaches Award recipient as well as the athletic program’s Hugh D. Grace Award for Sportsmanship. The award is given to the Fighting Tiger male student-athlete who by his action on the playing field, in the classroom and in the campus community has exemplified the code of sportsmanship and leadership.
After the day’s program was completed; Fighting Tiger Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Ryan Gunzinger, whose team spearheaded the efforts, spoke about his former player’s situation and the need to continue the search for a match.
“It’s now round two and Anthony is one of the toughest fighters that I know. But we need to find him a match to give him a better shot at beating this disease once and for all. I would encourage anyone who reads this to go on-line to: BeTheMatch.org and start the process.”
Individuals interested in joining the NMDP/Be The Match Registry can receive further information by going on line at BeTheMatch.org or by calling 1 (800) 627-7692.
Local organizations wanting to run their own NMDP/Be The Match Registry can contact Michael Garbin, Be The Match Senior Community Engagement Representative at 1 (585) 472-4715 or via e-mail at: [email protected]