A Coach In Need

A Coach In Need

Central High Head Football Coach Justin Garza is in need of a bone marrow transplant. You can donate blood and register to possibly be his match all week and next month. Garza and Chris Sorensen from the Central California Blood Center visited KSEE24 Sunrise to talk about the effort.

GEORGE TAKATA: the valley continues to try and help a local man fighting hodgkin's lymphoma - central high football coach justin garza is in need of a marrow transplant... and this week is your chance to be the match - coach garza and chris sorensen with the central california blood center joined us on sunrise to tell us how we can help.

CHRIS SORENSEN: If folks would like to help we're hoping that they could come to any of our 5 donor centers around the valley - donate blood, help us get ready for labor day weekend and certainly please try to consider getting on the marrow registry for justin and folks like him.

GEORGE TAKATA: Those 5 locations - there's one on Herndon Avenue in Fresno, East Shaw, the North Fresno Donor Center on Perrin, the Visalia Donor Center on Mooney and the one in Porterville on Main Street - coach, I've gotta ask you - you're getting ready for a game this week - it's week zero - how are you able to sustain all this energy and basically fight for your life?

JUSTIN GARZA: Well, I think we're all capable of doing more - we get very comfortable in our day to day lives and I think if we push ourselves we can stretch ourselves - I'm always talking to my players about stretching themselves and doing more so I think this is the best way to show them that you can - I know we have football and school but this is for a greater purpose and we can't let opportunities like this pass you by.

GEORGE TAKATA: Because this isn't just for you - you're raising awareness for everyone that needs it.

JUSTIN GARZA: Absolutely - if we get a thousand people to join the registry, every 500 people who register get called upon -  that's saving 2 lives so if i'm one of those lives so be it but that's 2 lives right there.

GEORGE TAKATA: We certainly hope so - no match in your family so we're definitely asking the community to pitch in - the other blood and marrow mobile drives - Reedley College August 27th, Buchanan High, Central High, Dinuba High, San Joaquin Memorial, Sunnyside, Selma High School - what does it mean to have support from your fellow coaches - the guys you compete against - it must be overwhelming.

JUSTIN GARZA: Absolutely - you get taken back when you see it - I was at the zoo for Dia de la Familia and I saw the superintendent of Dinuba Unified working a booth and the head coach of Sunnyside High School Jason Murray there with his family and when you see people take time out of their day to go out of their way to help you for a good cause there's no other feeling like it.

GEORGE TAKATA: Chris - Hispanic donors are in high demand, aren't they?

CHRIS SORENSEN: Yes - we need more and more of them to get on the marrow registry - if there's a chance for justin to find a match and others like him, more and more folks have to get on and we're encouraging them, hoping they'll come on - this week we'll also have a special  t-shirt to give them on behalf of Justin and special thank you's although helping someone like justin should be thanks enough - we also have passes - by one get one for the fair - and a free pint of Baskin Robbins ice cream if they come in.

GEORGE TAKATA: Coach - how has football managed to take your mind off things like this - your kids - is it a good escape for you?

JUSTIN GARZA: Absolutely - physically when you do these treatments it wears you down - I can't just go run a couple miles every morning or go work out every day so I just figure if I can get at it at practice for a couple hours and yell at as many kids as possible it's a good stress reliever.

GEORGE TAKATA: Who do you play Friday?

JUSTIN GARZA: Liberty of Brentwood - a Bay Area team - we're excited to have them but most importantly we want to get everyone there for the donor drive and put on a good show for them.

GEORGE TAKATA: The donor drive is first and foremost - you're going to have a packed stadium at Koligian Stadium for the season opener - it's week zero - high school football is getting started but most importantly this blood and marrow drive for coach Garza that's going on all week and all season long - we're going to keep going at this until we find a match for you - Friday from 5-9 at Koligian Stadium - home of the Grizzlies - bethematch.org/justin or facebook.com/bethematch4justin.

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