Lars Tiffany, Bone Marrow Donor: 'Give Hope'


Virginia coach Lars Tiffany (left) and assistant Kip Turner both were selected as matches in the national bone marrow registry. Tiffany underwent a 5-6 hour procedure last July and hopes to one day meet his recipient.

Last summer is still a blur for first-year Virginia coach Lars Tiffany. Between recruiting and commuting between his old home in Providence and his new gig in Charlottesville, there wasn’t much time available.

Still, there was one anchor in the eight weeks or so between when he accepted the Cavaliers’ head coaching position and his new team arrived back in school in August. It’s something he may well remember and cherish more than the frenetic scramble of a spring that saw him take Brown to its first NCAA semifinal appearance since 1994 and then accept one of the sport’s top jobs.

Tiffany became a bone marrow donor on July 21, an offshoot of a service project his team at Brown participated in over the last few years.

“It’s amazingly easy to do right from the get go with the cotton swab and the cheek,” Tiffany said. “Now you’re part of the national registry and even international registry, and now you’re a potential donor for anyone who matches you close enough genetically so that there will be a match.”

Bone marrow transplants are used to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, among other diseases. A donor will make half-hour visits for four or five days leading up to the donation, each time being injected with filgrastim, a drug that stimulates the production of stem cells.

Tiffany said his donation procedure lasted between five and six hours. During that time, blood is removed through a needle from one arm and inserted back into the donor through the other arm. In between, a machine separates the cells that help form blood.

“As a donor, you’re treated as a rock star by the donation center personnel,” Tiffany said. “It’s such a feel-good process. I encourage everyone to do it. Give hope. Give a second chance to those facing a death sentence. And selfishly, give yourself one of the best ego boosts you can have.”

It was one of the biggest community investments Tiffany’s Brown teams participated in during his tenure. Kip Turner, a Bears assistant at the time who followed Tiffany to Charlottesville, was selected as a match after joining the national registry.

So, too, was one of Brown’s top players.

“I remember [goalie] Jack Kelly coming up to me after practice and saying ‘Hey, Coach, I’ve got great news,’” Tiffany said. “I’m thinking ‘What, did you win the lottery? Did you get an A on a paper?’ He said ‘No, I’m a match.’”

After his own experience, Tiffany is hopeful it is something his new program can promote as well.

Earlier this season, Tiffany received an email update on how his recipient was faring. The man was “doing well” but not back to performing pre-transplant activities such as work.

Tiffany has not met his recipient, though he is optimistic the opportunity for both will eventually arrive.

“It’s up to the recipient,” Tiffany said. “That will probably be an emotional, tear-filled day for me, and I hope it’s a day that comes. I certainly respect my recipient’s wishes and what they want to do in their own privacy.”

Even if that chance never comes, Tiffany finds himself an even greater believer in a cause his former players have promoted for several years.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to find a way to make a difference on this planet and this is one of the easiest ones,” Tiffany said. “A few hours of your time and you’re a hero. You get to be a hero for someone I probably will never meet. But it gave someone a second chance.”

For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor, visit

Most Recent

Give & Go: Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse with Ava Angello

Flipping out with Ava Angello, the emerging Johns Hopkins superstar.

The Humphrey Connection: Ashley Joins Top Freshman Chloe at UNC

It's national championship or bust for the talented Humphrey sisters.

2024 USA Lacrosse WCLA National Championship Headed to Wichita

The tournament is making its first-ever appearance in Kansas.

Katrina Dowd’s Winding Career Path Leads to Brown

Dowd was named head coach at Brown. Her path there wasn’t linear.

Twitter Posts

Get the best and latest from delivered weekly straight to your inbox: