It’s been more than a quarter of a century since women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm lost her brother Garrett due to complications following a bone marrow transplant (BMT), but she has remained a steadfast supporter of that patient population.

Seeking to ensure no other family endures the pain she suffered, Hamm and pharma company Incyte teamed up to support the BMT community and highlight the dangers of complications like graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), where new donor cells attack the recipient’s body.

This week, Incyte announced the launch of its collaboration with Hamm as part of its effort to promote 

Hamm stars in a 105-second ad titled Your Fans Are With You, comparing the game day preparation and excitement athletes face to the experiences of Rollin and Loriana, BMT recipients who are dealing with GVHD.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist notes that while fans can’t determine the outcome of a game, friends and family also can’t determine the outcome of GVHD. However, they can always support the patient through what can be at times an arduous journey.

“You have these fans; the ones that cry with you and cheer with you, hold their breath when you call with news and all they want is for you to keep pushing,” she says. “GVHD affects everyone differently. Watching out for it and its progression is a vital part of your fight.”

Hamm also encourages patients to not wait and contact their healthcare team if they experience any new or changing symptoms related to the condition.

“Throughout my professional soccer career, my fans motivated me to fight my hardest, even in the toughest moments,” Hamm said in a statement on Incyte’s website. “Similarly, my family was by my brother Garrett’s side after he got sick and as he prepared for his BMT. We, along with his friends and his healthcare team, were his fans—cheering him on and encouraging him to keep fighting.”

In addition to the ad, Hamm spoke with about her brother’s life and the support she received from her U.S. women’s national soccer teammates following his passing.

The commercial is Hamm’s latest public-facing effort to raise awareness for bone marrow donors and the BMT community.

In 1999, she founded the Mia Hamm Foundation to boost the profile of bone marrow disease and increase funding for families in need of a transplant. 

She served as a member of the board of directors for the Marrow Foundation and joined the National Marrow Donor Program board. She also hosts an annual celebrity charity soccer challenge with her husband, former MLB All-Star Nomar Garciaparra, to raise funds for BMT patients.

Over the past year, soccer stars have been reliable messengers for healthcare campaigns.

Prior to the start of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Bristol Myers Squibb tapped a former member of the New Zealand women’s national soccer team for an ulcerative colitis (UC) educational campaign, dubbed Supporting You with UC.

Last December, the Department of Health and Human Services enlisted U.S. men’s national soccer team defender Walker Zimmerman for a PSA encouraging vaccination with the updated COVID shot.

For an April 2024 article about Incyte’s acquisition of Escient, click here.