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High school principal dies after donating bone marrow for teen boy

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WESTFIELD, N.J. – A high school principal died after lapsing into a coma following a procedure to donate bone marrow to a 14-year-old boy.

Derrick Nelson of Westfield (N.J.) died Sunday, two months after donating his bone marrow to help the teen in France.

NJ.com reports Nelson, 44, opened his eyes after the surgery in February, but he was unable to speak or move. He slipped into a coma as his family kept vigil in his hospital room.

Not only was Nelson the principal at Westfield High School, but he also served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 20 years and had just re-enlisted, according to the report.

In an interview with the student newspaper, Nelson talked about why he was donating to help a boy he had never met.

“If it’s just a little bit of pain for a little bit of time that can give someone years of joy, it’s all worth it,” said Nelson.