Derrick Nelson, Principal of Westfield High School in Northern New Jersey heroically decided to donate his bone marrow to a 14-year-old boy in France whom he had never met.

Normally the procedure is relatively routine, but Nelson suffered from sleep apnea — a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing stops repeatedly during sleep — and wasn’t able to go under general anesthesia, the more common method used for the procedure.

During a pre-procedure interview with his school newspaper, Nelson explained that he was initially told he couldn’t donate his blood marrow not only because of his sleep condition, but  also because he carried a certain gene.

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