NFL MCCOURTY TWINS HOST BLOOD DRIVE By Lauren Rebovich

Former Rutgers University football stars and current NFL players Jason and Devin McCourty are sponsoring a blood drive Saturday, Feb. 18, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) from 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. The drive will take place at One Robert Wood Johnson Place, Arline and Henry Schwartzman Courtyard, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

The McCourty twins teamed up with the Embrace Kids Foundation to create the “Tackle Sickle Cell Campaign.” New Jersey Blood Services has also joined forces with the two NFL players for Saturday’s blood drive to increase awareness, fundraise, and donate blood to individuals with Sickle Cell Disease.

Patients with Sickle Cell Disease can only be transfused with matching blood types. The drive will not only collect blood from individuals with corresponding blood types to donate to patients with Sickle Cell, but will also donate the blood to transfuse those of need in surgery, car accidents, cancer, or premature birth.

Jason and Devin’s passion to make a difference in the fight to cure Sickle Cell Disease first began when several of their loved ones, specifically their father and Aunt Winnie, were diagnosed. “This is something very personal to us, we can’t wait to get started and we’re thrilled to be working with Embrace Kids Foundation,” Devin stated during the start of their campaign trail.

Jason was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2009 and Devin by the New England Patriots the following year, due to redshirting his freshman year of college. The McCourty’s first campaign began in 2013 in New Brunswick with RWJUH, where they both attended college and were welcomed by the University’s hospital. The campaign now extends to their NFL teams’ home cities in Boston and Nashville, Tenn.

Tracey Malast, assistant vice president of oncology and surgical services at Robert Wood Johnson, noted how beneficial this blood drive is for the community. Sickle Cell Disease is the most common genetic disorder in the United States with roughly 100,000 diagnosed Americans. Patients with Sickle Cell Disease need constant blood transfusions, along with treatment.

“It is very exciting to see two young gentlemen, Jason and Devin McCourty continuing their journey with Embrace Kids Foundation in supporting  sickle cell,” Malast said.

Originally beginning with a blood drive, the Tackle Sickle Cell Campaign now hosts other events to fundraise such as comedy nights, casino nights, and marathons. The McCourty twins have stressed in several interviews their primary goals are educating the public on Sickle Cell, increasing the amount of blood donors, and raising money in hopes of eventually curing the disease.

“We need more young men like Jason and Devin,” Malast stressed.

All blood donors must be at least 17 years old and 110 pounds. the donors will be given a T-shirt, a Hansel ‘n Griddle gift card, and a signed photo from the McCourty twins.

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