College Volleyball Player Skips Final Conference Tournament To Make Lifesaving Donation To Stranger

College Volleyball Player Skips Final Conference Tournament To Make Lifesaving Donation To Stranger

Jurnee Farrell jumped at the chance of saving a stranger's life at the cost of missing an important game. Her donation means so much more because African-Americans have a mere 23% chance of finding a matching donor via the registry.

This teenager didn't think twice in a difficult situation. Jurnee Farrell, a senior Volleyball player at Howard University chose to give someone the gift of life instead of playing in her final conference tournament, according to Good Morning America. Farrell had no qualms about donating her blood stem cell (while missing an important game) when she learned that she was a perfect match for a 57-year-old woman with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was just glad she could help someone and give them a second shot at life. 


“It was bittersweet, but it was definitely a no-brainer,” Farrell, 21, told Good Morning America. “If somebody gets the opportunity to save someone’s life — whether it be a stranger or a family member — I would hope that it’s a no-brainer for everybody.” Farrell first signed up to be a donor with Be The Match when she was a sophomore in college after being encouraged by her coach Shaun Kupferberg. 


She signed up when they had a table at the university. The NGO helps save lives through marrow donation and transplants. It was also a cause that was close to the heart of coach Kupferberg. “Growing up, my dad worked at a children’s hospital in Chicago. I grew up in that type of environment and saw what an organ donation or a tissue donation can do for a family,” he told the outlet. “If somebody’s life can be saved by a simple donation, it’s obviously an easy thing to do and we should be helping.”


Around two years later, she found out that she was a match to a complete stranger and could save a life. When she first heard about the match, she felt surreal. “It wasn’t registering to me that I would be saving someone’s life,” she recalled. “I was just like, ‘Okay, I registered for this thing, and I’m going to go through with it.’ It took me a lot of time to realize what I was doing.”


Farrell underwent the procedure on November 19. Recovering from the procedure is known to take anywhere between 7-10 days, so the doctors told her she would not be able to play with her team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, which was scheduled for that weekend. Still, Farrell had no qualms about it. “I said ‘Yes, of course, I would do it,’ because I was saving somebody’s life … you only get one chance in life, I think, to save somebody else’s, and this was my chance,” she told ABC News.


“They’re on a timeline, I’m not really,” she added to ABC 30. “So I had to sacrifice that. It was okay. It was worth it.” According to Be The Match, Farrell's donation meant even more because African-Americans have a mere 23 percent chance of finding a matching donor through the registry. “You’re saving someone’s life and it’s super, super easy,” Farrell told GMA. “For you to be in pain for four or five days is nothing compared to someone whose been in pain for months.”


Her coach supported Farrell's donation, even though it meant missing out on the game. “You’re doing something bigger than volleyball,” Kupferberg told her, as per GMA. “If you want to talk about what you contribute to the world in twenty years and you can tell anybody that you had the chance to save someone’s life — that’s a major accomplishment.” People like these make you believe in the generations to come, and in humanity. 


While Farrell is prepping to compete for a national championship, she wants others to also consider giving someone the gift of life. She also hopes to meet the patient, if her transplant is successful, though she won’t know for another year. “If you get the opportunity to save someone’s life with such an easy process, you shouldn’t hesitate,” she told GMA. “I think it becomes real when you’re donating but that feeling would be elevated even more if I were able to meet this person.”


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