INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - "This is like our March Madness and this year, we're trying to take it to another level, partnering with Samantha and Project 44," IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter said.
The partnership between Carpenter and the Project 44 campaign extends beyond a sticker on the #20 car in the Indy 500, the Butler alum is actually joining the bone marrow registry.
"There's really no reason not to sign and to see if you can end up being a saving grace in somebody else's life," Carpenter said.
Samantha Smith launched the Project 44 initiative in memory of her husband, Butler basketball player Andrew Smith, in hopes of saving 44 lives through bone marrow donation.
"To get that 44 ,we knew we would need 18,920 people to sign up for the registry," Smith said. "We've had thousands and thousands of people join."
Of those who have already registered, many are members of the Butler basketball community, like head coach LaVall Jordan.
"That's what we all can do. You can't do everything but we are charged to do what we can," Jordan said.
Carpenter hopes that by demonstrating just how easy it is to join, something he did right here at his garage, other drivers and members of the IndyCar community will get on board as well.
"I'm proudly signing up and I'm happy to be an ambassador and hopefully I'll be able to get some of my peers to follow suit," Carpenter said. "Samantha and former players have done a really good job expanding this initiative throughout the NCAA and other schools that have gotten involved so now we're just trying to a different sport and a different genre to see if we can get our paddock as involved as the basketball community has been up to this point."
"The simplicity of actually doing it is something that we are certainly trying to spread," Smith explained. "So to have Ed out here saying, 'Yes, I'm going to do it,' and physically doing showing it is really just a swab on each cheek and a little bit of paperwork that he's able to. Again, if Ed is able to do it in May I think we can all do it and find some time in our day."
Click here to join the Project 44 initiative or to learn more, click here.