- Derrick Nelson, the beloved principal of Westfield High School in New Jersey lost his life after donating bone marrow to save a teenager he didn’t know.
- Nelson, who is is described by those who knew him as kind and generous, went into a coma after the donation procedure at a hospital in February.
- Friends say the principal didn’t know the French teen he was trying to save.
A New Jersey high school principal who underwent a bone marrow procedure at a hospital in February so he can donate to a teenager in France has died. Derrick Nelson couldn’t speak or move after the procedure, went into a coma, until he died Sunday.
is generally a safe procedure, but the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) says “no medical procedure is risk-free.” Almost 99 percent of marrow donors are expected to completely recover within a few weeks, according to NMDP. Only about 2.4% suffer from serious complications due to anesthesia or damage to bone, nerve, or muscle in their hip region.
Friends of the Westfield High School Principal say he didn’t know the 14-year-old French he was trying to help.
The 44-year-old Nelson became principal in February 2017 and was previously the vice principal of Westfield Junior High School (Roosevelt Intermediate School) since 2010. Those who know Nelson described him as someone with immense character and who was selfless, having served in the Army Reserve for more than 20 years.
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle told CBS New York: “He lived his life with daily acts of selflessness and kindness, so it’s a tremendous loss and people are reeling from it.”
“And my own kids will tell you about his humor in the hallways. He had this great sense of incredible, or incredible respect from the students. He was so beloved by so many, the mayor continued.
“He just lived a life of service above self and I think there is a lesson that we’re all going to take away from his untimely passing that hopefully, we can apply to our own lives.”
Dr. Margaret Dolan, the school superintendent described Nelson as “a gift to Westfield High School.”
“He had a strong moral compass, perhaps strongest moral compass I have ever experienced,” Dolan said.
Source: CBS News