TSU baseball play gives stranger the gift of life

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by Matt Musil / KHOU 11 Sports

khou.com

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 3 at 11:00 PM

HOUSTON -- A college junior is now spending much of his time on the baseball field at Texas Southern University, but not long ago, he was giving a complete stranger the gift of life.

Manny Cabral is playing his first season of baseball at TSU, but two years ago in a suburban mall outside of Boston, Massachusetts, he stopped by a kiosk and signed up for something that still affects his life.

“There was one [kiosk] that said ‘Save a Life One Day,’ and it was my girlfriend’s birthday and she said, ‘It’s a sign we have to do it’,” Cabral explained.

That was two-and-a-half years ago.

After a series of phone calls by officials asking if Cabral wanted to be a candidate, he went through medical exams and donated blood over the past year. Then, in December, when his TSU teammates were enjoying their Christmas holiday break away from school, Manny was in New England donating his bone marrow.

“I think they had three doctors that were working on me and a room full of people that I had no idea what they were doing,” Cabral said.

The doctors inserted large needles into the back of Cabral’s pelvis. He still has three small scars that show where they inserted the needles and tools for the surgery.

All Cabral is allowed to know about the person that he helped is that she was a 30-year-old woman with a blood disease.

Cabral was the only match in the International Bone Marrow Network.

“I had her life in my hands pretty much, I mean, that’s like unbelievable,” Cabral said. “That’s awesome. I’m really happy that I got a chance to do that.”

“Manny is a kid that gives more and expects less,” said TSU head baseball coach Michael Robertson. “He’s just one of those kids that has no worries and no hate in his heart. He’s just a really, really, really phenomenal kid.”

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