Star Football Player Donates Stem Cells, Saves Life


Hope-filled hearts are reading this morning a heart warming story that puts life into focus. Matt Hofman, one of the best players in Division III football, did what can only be called a courageous and selfless act. In short, he is a hero:

There were four finalists last night for the Gagliardi Trophy, basically the Heisman for Division III college football. But for finalist Matt Hoffman learning if he’d win wasn’t the suspense of the night.

Meeting cancer patient Warren Sallach was.

Last year Matt donated his bone stem cells – in an anonymous donation that went to Sallach. Sallach is now cancer-free, thanks to Hoffman.

“How you feeling,” Hoffman asked.

“Better now,” Sallach replied.

What did Matt have to give up? Only his entire junior year of football. But when you have honor in your heart there is only one way he could go:

“The only thing he could do after what I went through to donate to him is to feel better and get better,” Hoffman said.

In Division III football, Hoffman was the fearless star and leader of the Rowan University team.

But doctors told him that the drugs he needed to even donate stem cells would force an end to his junior year season. It was no contest.

“It’s a football game. They come and go,” Hoffman said. “You have a man’s life. It was very easy for me to choose.”

He also chose to have Warren’s family sit at the center table during the awards. Sallach’s wife Becky said she was grateful, not just for this, but for every second.

“With the disease, your hope is shattered,” she said. “Now we have hope.”

No, in the end, Matt Hoffman did not win the coveted trophy that night. It went to another worthy finalist, Eric Watt of Trine University in Indiana. But don’t make the mistake thinking that Matt Hofman lost. Mr. Hoffman is definitely a winner. And in a much bigger category…the gift of life award.

Simply put, Matt Hofman is a winner at life.

Let us all now make Matt Hoffman proud and lift our game up to his level.

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