Executive Director of the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning Dave Dresslar was diagnosed with leukemia last fall and is now on the road to recovery. During his absence, however, the campus and community show that he is being thought of.
Dresslar underwent a bone marrow transplant last Nov. 21. His transplant took immediately. Dresslar said this is a new concept for him.
“It is strange and kind of cool to think that I have a brand new blood type and that I am genetically unrelated to my family,” he said.
After word got out that Dresslar had leukemia, the community wanted to do something special for him. Jason Kloth, Indianapolis deputy mayor for education, wanted to organize a special event for his friend. Kloth, along with some CELL staff members, President Robert Manuel and Provost Deborah Balogh, gathered at Dresslar’s house on Nov. 5.
“I knew there was something happening when all these people started showing up,” Dresslar said. “It was not until Mayor Ballard showed up that I realized just how special this day would be.”
Mayor Greg Ballard declared Nov. 5, 2014 “Dave Dresslar Day” in Indianapolis. Friends and family were thrilled and just as surprised as Dresslar.
“My grandson was there and had to record Mayor Ballard on his iPad so that his friends at school would believe that the mayor was at his grandpa’s house,” Dresslar said.
Dresslar’s journey also had an impact on the UIndy community. CELL partnered with Be the Match, a bone marrow registry, and the Campus Program Board to hold a blood drive and swab for bone marrow donations on March 25.
The event was entitled “Live to Give” and gave donors a chance to donate blood, be tested for a bone marrow match or both.
Acting Executive Director of CELL Janet Boyle said that the event went better than she expected.
“We raised over $5,000 and had almost 50 people do swabs for bone marrow matches,” Boyle said.
Both Boyle and Dresslar have become more aware of how vital tissue and organ donation is.
“This experience has just reinforced my belief in the necessity of blood and organ donation,” Boyle said. “By witnessing Dave going through chemo and the prep for his transplant, I have loudly received the message to cherish every day we have been given with our loved ones.”
Dresslar said he is so thankful for those who choose to get tested to be a match for marrow donation.
“After my experience,” he said, “I have realized how important it is for people to be educated about organ and tissue donation.”