Wahine’s Gaddis Donates Marrow

Courtney Gaddis

Wahine basketball player Courtney Gaddis, a 21-year-old junior, has finally earned her full-ride scholarship. Now, she could help save a life.

Gaddis has been identified as a perfect match for a young cancer patient and will donate her bone marrow in an attempt to bolster the health of the 4-year-old patient.

“I signed up to the National Bone Marrow Registry (a few years ago), and I almost forgot about it,” Gaddis says. “Then they called me this summer and told me I’ve been identified as a potential match. I came in for a blood test, and then I got the call back that I was the best match.”

“When Courtney came to me and shared the news with me, we really encouraged her,” says Wahine basketball coach Dana Takahara-Dias. “I told her it doesn’t matter how many practices she misses, she can have all the time she needs. Wahine basketball pales in comparison to this opportunity to help save a life.”

On the first day of school this year, Takahara-Dias called the former walk-on shooting guard out of Kalani and La Pietra into her office and awarded her a full-ride scholarship. “I think she thought she was in trouble,”

Takahara-Dias says. “But we told her she deserves this; she’s humble and she works hard. Good things happen to good people.”

On Oct. 12, just three days before the official start date of the Wahine basketball season, Gaddis will enter Hawaii Medical Center for an overnight stay. “I’ve never been in the hospital overnight. The closest thing I’ve had to surgery is getting my wisdom teeth pulled.”

She’s never met the recipient. “I was told he was a 4-year old boy who’s very sick and isn’t responding to other treatment. They moved up the surgery date,” she says. In the hospital, “they will drill two small holes into my pelvis and take the bone marrow out that way.”

The recovery period for her will be about a week or so. “I’ve been told I’ll be stiff for a few days, but then within a week, I should be back to normal activity. I know I’ll miss the first few days of practice, but Coach Dana and the team have been very supportive. When Coach announced this to the entire team, they were very excited.”

“We stress community service with the Wahine program, and to me, this is the ultimate gift,” TakaharaDias says. “We try to do what we can do to make a difference. I can’t think of anything bigger. Hopefully, a little life will be saved. We’re hoping someday that this leads him to getting better and we can have him come to one of our games and make him an honorary team captain.”

Gaddis is scheduled to graduate from the UH in the spring of 2012, but her helping days will be far from over. She’s a biology, premed major who plans to begin a career in medicine. “I would love to be a pediatrician,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to help save people’s lives. To be given this chance this way, it’s truly an amazing opportunity. I’m super excited.”

“This is an example of true aloha spirit,” Coach Takahara-Dias says. “We’re so proud of her.”

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