Special donation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Special donation

MARSHALL, TX (KLTV) -   James Fugate didn't always dominate the weight room.

"He came in pretty small, pretty weak, pretty slow," said East Texas Baptist head football coach Mark Sartain.  "He's made himself a starter. Been a blessing ever since."

A blessing to the Tigers and many more.  The man that protects the quarterback wants to help others any way he can.

"I don't want my face to be known as the guy that saved someone," said Fugate.  "I want it to be 'hey he was used by God to help.'"

Earlier this year, Fugate decided to help a total stranger by becoming a bone marrow donor.

"I carried the card around and I was like man it would be cool," said Fugate.  "I didn't expect a call because there's a whole bunch of people on that list that never get called."

To Fugate's surprise, a match was found.  As spring football was set to kickoff in February, Fugate was headed to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas.  He met patients fighting to survive, including kids who kept a smile on his face.

"It shook my world," said Fugate.  "I've worked at Christian camps and mission trips and nothing has touched me like going in there. You almost face death and look death in the eye."

Fugate says the greatest challenge wasn't donating bone marrow.  But not knowing who he donated to.  He's promised a one month report, a six month report and after one year a face to face meeting if the patient chooses.

"It was stressful because I was like I wonder if he got it yet," said Fugate.  "If I didn't have football I would have been crazy."

It's been 7 months since the procedure and Fugate has yet to receive a six month update.  He knows he may never meet the man he helped and struggles the prospect of one day seeing him face to face.

"My biggest fear is he'd want to thank me," said Fugate.  "I did this for him, but I did this for a purpose that it's not mine. It's truly God's."

His football coach couldn't be prouder.

"Hopefully it will compel others to follow his lead," said Sartain.  "His own generation and some of us old heads that really need to get of the bench in some of these areas and be of service."

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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