Nestor Aparicio has been referred to as “Nasty Nesty” on the radio, where he is known to some St. Louis listeners from his yesteryear days as a host nationally on Sporting News Radio.
But Aparicio, who now owns and appears on a Baltimore sports-talk station, is doing something this summer that’s the opposite of nasty. He’s in the middle of a marathon of trekking to all 30 major-league ballparks in a 30-day period in which he is rallying people to have their mouths swabbed in order to be included in the international bone marrow registry.
The effort, which has been dubbed “Give A Spit,” rolls into St. Louis on Friday and it has a big personal tie. In March of last year Aparicio’s wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She received a bone marrow transplant and is doing fine now.
Jenn is going to about half the stops on the tour, and plans to join her husband in St. Louis after having returned home for a few days at her job as a network engineer for Verizon Communications. This is a huge milestone day. It was one year ago that she had her bone-marrow transplant.
“Meet me in St. Louis,’’ Aparicio said. “Friday’s a really big deal for us. I sure remember where I was a year ago.”
At many stops he has been allowed to set up a table in which fans can have their mouth swabbed to gather saliva, which is sent to the registry. It is analyzed and catalogued to create a profile that will determine if that person is a match for someone who needs a bone-marrow transplant. Other teams haven’t been as cooperative.
However the Cardinals are on the bandwagon after some red tape was eliminated Thursday. The couple is to be provided with a table in the family pavilion area of the Ford Plaza, on the main concourse near gates 5 and 6. The goal is to have fans give a saliva sample to be entered into the registry.
“People don’t understand the swabbing process, it’s so easy,’’ he said. “We didn’t know anything about it 18 months ago, either. For a lot of people it’s Chinese and I understand that.”
Awareness is another big goal of the tour.
“Sometimes the swabbing part is a little bit ceremonial, because you can’t swab 5,000 people at a baseball game,’’ he said. “You can swab 50, you just don’t have enough time. If you can get a person every two minutes to put their spit on a Q-tip, you’re doing pretty damn good. But a lot of people don’t even know about this, so we want to let them know this goes on.”
On the awareness front, the couple is to appear on Howard Balzer’s sports-talk radio show, at 11 a.m. on KXFN (1380 AM). Balzer has been a frequent guest on Aparicio’s programs over the years. And the effort is being backed by a strong social media campaign, including a presence on his Facebook page and on Twitter at #GiveASpit and #JennStrong.
To read more visit STLToday.com where it was originally published