A 2009 Saint Viator High School graduate, Phil Costello, is at the center of a video campaign making its way across the DePaul University campus. Its focus? Promoting the National Marrow Donor Program and the lifesaving benefits of joining the “Be the Match Registry.”

“I don’t consider myself to be an inspirational story,” Phil says at the outset. “Whatever life throws at me, whatever hurdles, I’ll try to be positive about it and work through it.

Phil was crowned Homecoming and Prom King during his senior year at Saint Viator.

Phil was crowned Homecoming and Prom King during his senior year at Saint Viator.

“That’s my outlook on life,” he adds. “Once you reach your lowest point in life, there’s nowhere else to go—but up.”

November is National Marrow Awareness Month, when donors are sought for the national registry, especially college students. They are encouraged to join the “Be the Match Community” and experience the power of one, in changing the life of a patient with blood cancer.

Helen Pazen, a DePaul student and daughter of Sacred Heart of Mary alumna, Angela Murphy ’70, produced the video with classmates in her documentary production class.

Phil has a compelling story to share. He was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2 ½, leading him to endure rounds of chemotherapy. Some two years later, he relapsed and needed to undergo more chemotherapy and radiation. The doctor held out one more treatment that could be a game changer: a bone marrow transplant.

His entire family was tested, including his parents, James and Kate, and three older brothers, Jack ’99, Robert ’02, and Paul ’05, and three out of the five of them turned out to be perfect matches.

“It was a miracle,” says his mother, Mrs. Kate Costello, who teaches film and theater and also directs Saint Viator’s plays and musicals.

svhs_gr035pcIn the end, his brother Paul volunteered to be the donor (his brother Robert was a backup) and the transplant was successful. He recovered in a few days and Phil eventually returned to school.

While attending Saint Viator, Phil appeared in nearly all of the plays and musicals and he returned to his alma mater during college to help with the productions. He graduated from DePaul University and now works full time for Costello, McMahon, Burke & Murphy.

The video opens with Phil demonstrating one of his passions: cooking, which he does regularly for family and friends.

“I feel normal,” he says. “I’ve known so many people in the hospital who were a lot worse than me. I’m just lucky for what I’ve got.”

To learn more about joining the Bone Marrow Registry—and the power of one—visit: https://bethematch.org/.