CCSU Player Saves a Life by Donating Bone Marrow

“The odds are you’re just going to sign up and probably be in it for the rest of your life,” said CCSU senior, Mike Mushaw. “You probably won't get a call.”

But this is a story about beating the odds. For a little girl in Virginia, it had to be. One-year-old Eleanor was diagnosed with a rare immunodeficiency shortly after she was born. Her parents never could have imagined that the key to her cure was on the football field in Connecticut.

It came in the form of Mushaw, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker. He had entered the Be the Match bone marrow registry as a freshman in 2017. In 2018, he was preparing for his junior year of college and for a bone marrow procedure to help save Eleanor’s life.

“We learned that he was a student athlete and he was potentially sacrificing his ability to play it made us cry even more,” said Eleanor’s mom, Jessica. The family has chosen to keep their last name private in the hopes that Eleanor can choose how much publicity she wants when she gets older.

Mushaw missed just a couple of weeks of training camp and he’d gladly do it again.

At the Blue Devils game against Saint Francis University last weekend, he’s long removed from the pain of the surgery and enjoying his senior season. He’s also finally meeting Eleanor and her family.

”It was amazing to see Eleanor up there,” he said, referencing the press box where she watched him practice the first day they met. “She loves football. I think she was watching practice the whole time her parents were saying that she was just saying 'Mike.'”

"Who knew that coming to Central Connecticut, I just thought I was coming here to get an education and play football.”

What were the odds he's save a life?

“Finally being able to put my arms around him and give him the biggest hug and say thank you was so rewarding” said Jessica.

Both Mushaw and Eleanor’s family are hopeful this will inspire more people to join the Be the Match Registry.

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