Villanova coach, college football player give gift of life

March 2, 2013 7:40:37 PM PST
It was an emotional reunion at Villanova University on Saturday night as a 2-year-old girl and her family met the college football player who helped save her life.

Through the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, legendary Villanova football coach Andy Talley has been raising money and awareness for bone marrow transplants.

"This is something that I've been committed to as a charity for 20 years," said Coach Talley.

For the last two decades, Talley has been working with Villanova's student body as well as colleges across America to register as many people as possible as potential donors.

"It's a very simple cheek swab, it used to be a blood test but not anymore," said Coach Talley.

2-year-old Clara Boyle of San Francisco was only four months old when she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

"My daughter wouldn't be here without this program," said Brooke Boyle.

Without a bone marrow transplant, she had only a 2 percent chance of survival. That's when Cortland State football player John Stephens came into the picture.

He was registered through the program and was a perfect match so he agreed to be Clara's donor.

"I went through with it, you know the best experience of my life that I have so far and probably will ever have," said Stephens.

It's been over two years since Clara had her transplant and she has made a full recovery.

"It's the Super Bowl of Super Bowls, it doesn't get any better, if you can save a life, it's beyond winning any football game, any championship," said Coach Talley.

"It's life, its more than a football game, winning a game, it's something that you made a difference, you really made a change," said Stephens.

With the gift of life as their bond, Stephens and the Boyles plan to stay in contact. Even as the years go by, they say they will keep in touch any way they can.