Campaign to Honor Former Butler Star

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An orthodontic practice in central Indiana has launched a campaign supporting a nonprofit honoring former Butler University basketball star Andrew Smith. Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics says the Be The Change campaign aims to have up to 430 people join the bone marrow registry. Jason Bunch is spearheading the effort and says the practice wanted to support Project 44 after its founder, Andrew Smith's wife, Samantha Smith spoke at an event it hosted by the practice.

Andrew Smith played on the Butler men's basketball team during its back-to-back trips to the NCAA Finals. He passed away about four years later after battling cancer and receiving a bone marrow transplant. Samantha started Project 44 in an effort to get more people to join the bone marrow registry. 

The practice is seeking 430 registrations because that is the industry benchmark of registrants per one match. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Bunch says if they can make one match, the entire campaign will be worth it.

"I want Andrew Smith's name to live on. I want Project 44 and what Sam's created to have more awareness," said Bunch. "We're small, but if we can make 10 people aware of it that weren't aware of it and they go tell 10 people, I think it can just continue from there. It's bringing awareness to cancer, what the bone marrow registry really does and get people onto that registry so we can truly make a difference in people's lives."

Bunch says he plans to make the Be The Change campaign an annual initiative. He says they also want to get involved with other charities, such as the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment at Purdue University.

“We are blown away by the willingness and sincerity to affect change from Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics,” Samantha Smith said in a news release. “We’re so grateful for their platform to not only add potential life-saving donors, but also to be able to speak to the many misconceptions surrounding the simplicity and ease of joining the bone marrow registry.”

You can learn more about the Be The Change campaign by clicking here.

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