USNAAlumni Honored by Be The Match

Tom Teach ’68 is joined by daughter Megan Levy (left) and wife Sandie at the November 2017 Be The Match council meeting.

Be The Match, operated by the National Bone Marrow Donor Program, recently honored two members of the Naval Academy alumni community: Tom Teach ’68 and the late Admiral E.R. Zumwalt Jr. ’43, USN (Ret.).

Be The Match recently established the Elmo R. and Mouza Coutelais-du- Roche Zumwalt Legacy Giving Society recognizing its charitable supporters who have included the organization in their estate plans, and presented Teach with its 2017 Volunteerism Award.

Both Zumwalt and Teach  have powerful personal connections to Be The Match’s mission. Zumwalt’s son Elmo developed lymphoma in 1982—and needed a transplant. A sibling proved a match, but Admiral Zumwalt became concerned for those without such options. He became a vocal advocate of a national donor registry, the first vice chair of the National Marrow Donor Program and eventually its chair. While his son passed away in 1988, Zumwalt remained dedicated to fighting leukemia, lymphoma and related diseases until his own death in 2000.

Teach’s commitment also stems from family tragedy. He became involved with Be The Match during his now-deceased grandson’s battle with leukemia. Four-year old Ben received a successful bone marrow transplant coordinated by Be The Match, but the cancer returned and he passed away in 2015 two months before his fifth birthday.

During Ben’s fight, Teach and Ben’s father, Todd Teach, addressed the Brigade of Midshipmen and inspired a group of midshipmen volunteers to organize the Academy’s first bone marrow donor drive, which led to more than 2,000 midshipmen joining as potential donors. Subsequent drives have continued to add midshipmen to the database. Teach, now a Be The Match board member, continues to support drive events and has helped raise more than $165,000 for the organization through Walk+Run events.

 

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