GVSU football player donates stem cells

Posted at 11:17 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 23:18:04-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Grand Valley State football player, Nick Keizer, has one more year left of eligibility, but he closed out his senior year at the beginning of May by donating stem cells to a man in Denmark.

“I feel like there’s not a lot of opportunities you get in a lifetime where you get to really impact someone’s life and when one of those comes around I feel like you have to take that opportunity," Keizer said. "It’s cool and you know I didn’t really understand the meaning of it until I kind of did it. They told me and I was getting people emailing me and talking to me about how cool of a thing it was that I did and it kind of set in that, you know I impacted somebody across the world that I don’t even know."

Nick and his teammates signed up in March of 2016 during a Michigan blood registry drive, after a presentation by community engagement representative, Caitlin Gallagher, who told them it's about a 1-in-500 chance that they would be a match.

“She gave a really presentation, kind of got a lot of guys on board. She convinced me for sure. Made it sound like it was something that was really good and something I should do. So we all swabbed our cheeks. About half the team did it. It was optional but the way she made it sound was that not a lot of people get chosen for it. So I kind of did it thinking, oh you know, I should do it, but probably won’t ever get picked for it anyways," Nick admitted. "But we all swabbed cheeks, we sent it in and I didn’t hear from them for about a year.”

And in December 2016, after some additional blood work, Nick found out he was a perfect match and decided to donate his stem cells on May 2nd.

“It was literally like a week. I graduated on Friday and Tuesday was my birthday, the same day I was donating. So yeah it was kind of a lot going on. I just finished exams. It was a cool way wrap it up. Definitely made my last year and my last week as an undergrad memorable.”

Nick will continue his studies at GVSU this year while pursuing his masters in business administration and playing for the Lakers one more year as a tight end.