It's a busy ftime of year for the Green & White, with the draft upon us, the veterans back working out at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, and minicamps, training camp and the season ahead.
But members of the Jets are making time for a vital mission next week to help save the life of one of their biggest fans.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is co-hosting "Match for Michael," an event on Tuesday, May 1, in Eatontown, N.J., to assist Michael Manganiello, who was recently diagnosed with acute myelofibrosis, a rare condition in which progressive scarring of the bone marrow impairs the ability of the body to produce blood cells. As a result, he is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant.
"The most important goal of the night by far is to find a bone marrow donor for Michael," Pettine said. "We also aim to increase awareness about the importance of being a marrow donor as well as raise funds for the **Be The Match Registry** and **the Manganiello family**."
To help achieve those objectives for Manganiello, a loving husband and father and an avid fan of the Jets, Pettine will be joined by head coach Rex Ryan, quarterback Mark Sanchez, and defensive tackle Sione Pouha and linebacker Aaron Maybin at the event, which will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Eatontown.
"We're doing for Michael what he would unflinchingly do for anyone else," said Pettine. "It's a credit to Rex, Mark, Sione and Aaron that they didn't hesitate to volunteer their time for such a great cause."
Those five will be joined by Jets radio voice Bob Wischusen, Fireman Ed Anzalone, other Jets coaches and members of the New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleaders to welcome guests to the event.
The donation to attend "Match for Michael" is $40 and registration for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) via a simple cheek swab, which will also serve as screening for a potential bone marrow match.
Among the night's activities:
■ Live and silent auction for such items as club-level tickets with pregame sideline passes for selected Jets games this fall, a private tour of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center guided by Pettine, autographed Tim Tebow items, and other signed Jets memorabilia.
■ Autograph session and photo opportunities with the members of the Jets.
■ Presentation of the New York Jets highlight video.
■ Cash bar, coffee and water service, and assorted desserts.
Additionally there will be a VIP package for a minimum $500 donation ($150 for children 5-17) that will include:
■ Private meet-and-greet with Ryan, Pettine, Sanchez, Pouha and Maybin.
■ Joining an exclusive "Match for Michael" VIP group that will privately observe a Jets practice in May or June.
■ Professional photo op with Jets celebrities of your choice.
■ Signed 8x10 photo of Jets celebrities.
"This is a rare opportunity that we can use what we do to have such a profound impact," said Pettine. "The community response has been overwhelming, people dropping everything to jump in and help."
Donations for admission may be made in advance on * ***MatchForMichael.com** via PayPal. Donations may also be made at the door (cash or check only). All proceeds will be split between NMDP and the Manganiello family.