Mazza Makes Selfless Decision to Save a Life

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear football helmets. Michael Mazza ’18 proved this over the summer. As his senior season approached, Mazza was preparing to help the Washington & Jefferson College football team continue their successful record. Over the summer, he received an email informing him that he could be a bone marrow match for an 18-yearold boy in Massachusetts who needed a life-saving transplant. Mazza decided initially to think it over and went to work at his internship that day. On his way home, something happened that helped him make a decision. “While I was driving, I got hit and ended up getting my car totaled. I walked out of the wreck with only minor injuries, feeling blessed and that God was telling me I was meant to help save this kid’s life. That really pushed me to do it.” From that point, Mazza focused in a way similar to how he does while preparing for a football game and did not second-guess his decision. The actual donation process itself was a two hour-long surgery. Mazza said that although he was under an anesthetic, he woke up very sore — a small price to pay for saving a life. It was not the only sacrifice made. As a result of donating, Mazza gave up his senior season of college football, which he had been working towards for a long time. To deal with this unexpected consequence, Mazza recalled something W&J head football coach Mike Sirianni had said: “Some things in life are bigger than football.” Reflecting on his experience, Mazza said, “This is definitely one of those things that was bigger than football. It was worth giving up my senior season knowing that I helped a kid and gave him the shot at the things in life that he deserves. He’s only 18. He’s coming up on the best years of his life. I want him to enjoy that.” Mazza is very proud of his decision. He encourages others to attend the football team’s bone marrow drive with The Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation. The drive is held during the spring semester and donors will be entered in the database so that a matches can be found to help save lives.