College volleyball player sacrifices playoff game to donate bone marrow and help save a life

WASHINGTON -- December 3rd is Giving Tuesday. It's a day to give back to the community or support a charity.

For a volleyball player at Howard University, she's potentially saving someone's life, because she signed up to be a bone marrow donor.

Senior Jurnee Farrell is being called a hero - not for what she did on the court, but for the sacrifice she made off the court.

Jurnee chose to miss one of her last big tournaments to donate life-saving stem cells. Two years ago, she signed up with Be the Match, the bone marrow registry.

Just before the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tourney, she got the call.

"I was a match to a 57-year-old female with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I said, of course, because, I mean, I was saving somebody's life and they're on a timeline. I'm not really. So I had to sacrifice that. It was okay. It was worth it," says Jurnee.

After donating blood stem cells, Jurnee couldn't play, but her team brought home the title anyway. Her coach salutes her service.

Be the Match wishes more African Americans like Jurnee would sign up.

The chance of black patients finding a match is 23-percent, that's the lowest rate of all ethnic groups.

Jurnee hopes to be a voice for turning that around. And in about a year, she'll learn whether the transplant was a success, and if she can meet her recipient.

"I want to do it, so we'll just see if she also wants to do it. And hopefully we can meet one day," she says.

Many people think Giving Tuesday is all about donating money, but it doesn't have to be.

Like Jurnee, you can sign up for the Be the Match bone marrow registry.

Or you can give blood, sign up to be an organ donor, or donate your time help others.

Cancer patients need rides to and from appointments. Seniors also need rides or hot meals delivered and homeless shelters need people to serve meals or help out with support services.

There are plenty of ways to volunteer to make a difference.

Here are links to a few options:
Red Cross Blood Donations
American Cancer Society
Volunteers of America
Meals on Wheels
Poject HOME
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.