Cleat Geeks

Jason Boulais: A Real Hero

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I did not hear about this story until I was asked to write about it and I was completely blown away.

University of South Carolina Beaufort pitcher Jason Boulais provided a cheek swab to the “Be The Match” registry on his college download (1)campus last October for potential bone marrow donors. He was told in March that he was a preliminary match for a boy in France and the blood tests confirmed it. Boulais had surgery in May to have bone marrow removed for his back and pelvis, even knowing it would end his senior season after 10 games. According to the MLB, Jason has completed a two-week recovery from the procedure and is now 100 percent healthy.

Eventhough he wasn’t drafted, Boulais had much to celebrate for being an amazing human being.  MLB honored him at the Major League Baseball draft on June 8th. “I never fathomed any of this,” the 23-year-old Boulais said. “I never fathomed that I would be a match.” Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Schmidt, Andre Dawson, and John Smoltz gave him a standing ovation. “It was awesome,” Boulais said. “Hall of Famers standing up, clapping for me. Man, wow.”

Boulais was intrigued when he was asked if he wanted to save a life before he signed up for the “Be The Match” program. “They came up to me,” Boulais recalled, “and they said, `Hey, you want to save a life?'” “I said, `Yeah, why not? Let’s see what this is all about,'” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to do that?” He had the inside of his cheeks swabbed a few times andsafe_image was told that they may never talk to him again or they might call him in 10, 20, or 30 years, but they just didn’t know what would happen. He went on his way. He received a call a few months later to find out he was match.

Boulais was supposed to have bone marrow removed on April 9th, baseball season had already begun and the Sand Sharks were in Lakeland, Florida to play Southeastern University when he was given a new date: May 4th. So instead of traveling with his teammates, he headed to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington to have the 45-mintue procedure. The Sand Sharks lost, ending their season and Boulais’ playing career. “I would give up my last game any day of my life to do this,” Boulais said. “I would do this again. I’d do it a million times over. There’s no regrets. When I got that phone call, I was 100 percent in. Giving a kid a second chance at life was all worth it to me.” He doesn’t know how the boy in France is doing, but the boy’s family has to consent to releasing that information first. “I’m very curious,” he said. “I’ve seen the `Be The Match’ site, and I see stories that they’ve posted about people who have donated to kids and they meet in the airport and it just gives you chills.” Boulais’ eyes turned red and welled up as he paused, thinking about a similar meeting someday.”I can just imagine meeting him in the airport and he just runs up to me,” Boulais said. “It brings a tear to my eye right now.”

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