UPenn football player tries to save a stranger’s life: ‘It was life-changing for me’

Matt Leon
August 03, 2019 - 4:00 am
Penn junior defensive back Anthony Lotti

Courtesy of Penn Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A University of Pennsylvania football player says he is gearing up for the 2019 season, fresh off of helping to try and save a stranger’s life.

Defensive back Anthony Lotti says during his freshman year he took part in a Penn Football “Be the Match” bone marrow registry. Now a junior, Lotti says he kind of forgot about it. That was until a few months ago.

"I was just sitting in the library for finals, my phone went off, I got a call and they said I matched with a 37-year old mom with leukemia. This was back in April. So 18 months went by in between and I got that call and it was life changing for me," he tells KYW Newsradio.

So, what happened after Lotti decided to donate his bone marrow?

"I had to undergo some more blood tests to make sure that I was, in fact, a match,” he said. “I found that out about in May. Then within a two month span they told me I was going to be ready for surgery. That happened July 24."

"It kind of makes you put your life in perspective a little bit. When you’re 20 years old, you're so caught up in things you think matter a lot, like getting a good test grade or doing well on the football field. But in hindsight, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter at all. What really matters is family, friends, being happy and being able to contribute something like this."

Lotti says he won't learn anymore about the woman he helped for a while.

"They said a year to date from the surgery is when I'm able to communicate with her because God forbid, if she were to not make it, they wouldn't want me to feel personally responsible, which of course I do appreciate. But God willing I hope she does make it. Hopefully, July 24th, 2020, we will be able to meet.

Just about all of the Philadelphia area college football programs hold a bone marrow registration drive. Lotti is now the fifth Penn player to be matched as a donor.

For more information on how you can join the be the Match national bone marrow donor registry, check out Join.BetheMatch.org/