INDIANAPOLIS -- On Jan. 12 of this year, Andrew Smith, a Butler basketball player who helped the men’s basketball team get to two National Championship games lost the biggest fight of his life -- the fight against cancer.
But ask his wife, Samantha, and she'll tell you our loss is his gain.
“I know where Andrew is now and I know that I'll get to see him again,” Samantha said.
It was faith that drove Andrew and Sam to share their story and their struggles publicly.
“I'm the luckiest, luckiest woman in the world to have been his wife,” Samantha said.
Wearing her wedding ring and overflowing with love, she said his fight is part of what still amazes her today.
“The way he fought the last two years was certainly the most proud of him I've ever been,” Samantha said. “Those pictures of him on a bike, those pictures of him smiling while receiving the harshest drugs you could possibly get. Those are the moments I'll always be most proud of him for.”
On the worst days they knew their life's purpose was an important one.
“Andrew and I always said if we could help one person, if we could save one person's life - be that through the bone marrow registry, be that through encouragement - then it was all worth it,” Samantha said.
When Butler University came to her with the idea of Project 44, the answer was obvious.
Project 44 is aimed at signing up enough people to the bone marrow registry to save 44 lives.
“We can swab our cheeks with Q-Tips and send it in the mail and be on the registry,” she said.
It's that simple. And in the realm of cancer - where it seems we can't do anything at all to beat a giant, here's something we can do.
“This is kind of your hail mary, your last shot,” she said. “Your ‘one more big push’ - that you can make toward healing.”
While the bone marrow transplant didn't work for Andrew, it works for countless others.
But it all begins with you and the decision to say yes to put your name on the list.
Head to Hinkle Fieldhouse Thursday from 3-7 p.m. to become a donor, or visit bethematch.org.
It's as simple as swabbing the inside of your cheek with a Q-Tip.
It’s an easy solution that could save a life and honor a man who inspired us all.