Earl Young, 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist, will speak at Austin College at 11 a.m. on September 11 in IDEA Center, Room 127. The athlete traveled the world since winning his medal, sharing his victory with thousands. Now the cancer survivor is intent on sharing another message—that of the importance of bone marrow donation. His presentation, free and open to the public, is held in connection with a three-day bone marrow donor drive hosted by the international nonprofit DKMS.
“Mr. Young will tell his inspiring story of athleticism, survival, resilience, strength, and the gift of a second chance from a total stranger,” said Mark Hudson, men’s head soccer coach. “Plan to meet Mr. Young, take a selfie with his gold medal, and learn how you can be a hero to someone in need of a bone marrow donor for a second chance at life.”
As a college sophomore, Young made the U.S. Olympic track and field team for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and was a member of the Team USA 4×400-meter relay, which finished in world-record time. He also earned two gold medals at the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of relay teams. He traveled thousands of miles to share his victory and allow others to hold the gold medal, sharing his win with others.
Young went on to a successful business career, serving as an advisor, corporate officer, and director for various companies and investment banking firms. In September 2011, a persistent runny nose finally sent him to a doctor—and he soon found himself in a new race, this one for his life. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, an aggressive type of blood cancer for which a bone-marrow transplant was needed. In January 2012, when his time was nearly up, a genetic match from a total was found in Germany.
Once Young recovered, he had a new victory to share. He began to spread the word about the need for registration as a bone marrow donor. In 2015, he formed Earl Young’s Team and works in conjunction with existing national and international organizations to encourage people to join the national register of potential donors. To date, his efforts have helped add nearly 10,000 new potential lifesavers to the bone marrow registry.
DKMS is an international nonprofit organization, founded 27 years ago in Germany by Dr. Peter Harf when he lost his wife to leukemia. He promised her that he would help every blood cancer patient find a matching donor. At that time, there were only 3,000 potential stem cell donors available to provide a transplant in Germany and within one year of founding DKMS, the number of stem cell donors increased to 68,000. Today, DKMS has offices in Germany, the United States (opened 2004), Poland (2009), and the UK (2013) and has registered over 8 million potential donors worldwide.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.