GVSU football player donates stem cells to man in Denmark

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ALLENDALE, Mich. — Laker football tight end Nick Keizer is being called a lifesaver. He celebrated his birthday this week by donating his stem cells to a man in Denmark who needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.

His donation comes after he and many of his football teammates swabbed the insides of their cheeks during a Michigan Blood registry drive last year, though he never thought he would be a match for anyone.

“The presentation pulled at my heart and I thought, ‘Why not sign up to be a donor?’ Yet I also thought the odds of me actually being a match can’t be that high,” Keizer said.

The match is about a 1-in-500 chance, according to Caitlin Gallagher, community engagement representative for Michigan Blood, Be The Match.

Gallagher said Michigan Blood was notified in December that Keizer was a potential match. He underwent more blood work and in February was deemed a perfect match for a 59-year-old man in Denmark.

Keizer’s donation was non-surgical and took about four hours, with needles in both of his arms. “I’m not a big needle guy, but I figured I could handle a little discomfort, because that doesn’t compare to what the patient is going through,” he said.

His stems cells were then given to a volunteer courier who flew to Denmark.

Keizer, a native of Portage, graduated April 28 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. He has one more season of eligibility left and will play football in the fall while he pursues a master’s degree in business administration.

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  • Angie Love Darrow

    What an amazing gift. Bless your heart. The change you have made for this man, family and his friends is the most incredible gift. Thank you for your generosity from the heart. I personally will be checking into this to help someone also.

  • Joe

    I applaud you Nick. I hope more people follow your selfless example of giving for the sake of giving. Bless your caring heart !!