The Franklin & Marshall scholar-athlete profile features a Diplomat who personifies what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete. The F&M campus is filled with dedicated, passionate, and talented student-athletes who have interesting stories to tell – and it's our goal to let those stories be heard. To be chosen as a scholar-athlete of the month, F&M student-athletes must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and community service, or have a noteworthy story that stretches beyond the realm of athletic competition.
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Some student-athletes volunteer to do more than they are asked, off the field as well as during competition.
Jack Donaghy ’20, a junior quarterback on the Franklin & Marshall College football team, volunteers in numerous programs in the community. Perhaps his most remarkable decision was to join a program whose members give bone marrow to help others.
Head coach John Troxell and his wife, Pam, in conjunction with F&M’s Student-Athlete Leadership Council, helped organize a marrow donor registry drive on the College’s campus in support of the Be the Match program in spring 2018. Throughout the past 25 years, the organization has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world in a fight against life-threatening blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Donaghy stepped forward, and in mid-December, he donated.
“Donating marrow is not like giving blood,” explained Donaghy. “You first need to be on the national registry, and then if someone is sick and needs a transplant, the registry will contact you.”
“For confidentiality purposes, I do not know, nor do the doctors know, who I donate to. I believe I am doing something that any person would do given the opportunity,” he said.
A bone marrow transplant is a treatment that replaces unhealthy marrow with a healthy amount. Bone marrow is soft, spongy tissue inside bones. Medical professionals say that before a transplant, a patient gets chemotherapy with or without radiation to destroy diseased cells and marrow.
Then healthy cells are “transplanted” to the patient. The new cells go into the bloodstream through an intravenous line, similar to sending blood through an IV. The cells find their way into the bone marrow, where they grow and start to make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Agreeing to become a donor requires a strong commitment, as well as a challenging procedure.
“They drill into your back in two areas,” said Donaghy. “If you placed your hands on your hips and wrapped your thumbs around your back, that is where they drill in. Once the incision is made, they continually go in and out of both spots until they have extracted the amount they need for the recipient.
“I was under anesthesia for the procedure, but I was in pain and extremely sore for about a week. I was uncomfortable for about three weeks or so.”
Volunteering is an integral part of Donaghy's makeup as he helps out at a local weight-training center for young men, and at a junior baseball program in the summer. He also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
A native of Haverton, Donaghy went to Haverford High School. He earned admission to the National Honor Society and the National Business Honor Society.
“I have enjoyed football at F&M,” said Donaghy. “It’s been great to have played on two of the most successful back-to-back seasons in recent years, going 10-1 and 8-3.”
Jack is the son of Eileen Donaghy, a nurse practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Peter Donaghy, principal at Haverford High School. His siblings are Erin, T.J., and Kate.
He said he chose F&M because of the College’s combination of outstanding academics and an excellent football program.
“I wanted to get a great education,” said Donaghy, who is majoring in business, organizations, and society. “I enjoy the academic experience, and I have met some great people here.
“We have terrific guys on the team, and I think we will be friends for many years after college.”
Donaghy’s intangibles stand out to Troxell and the rest of the F&M football program.
“Jack is a tremendous leader and a player that the team rallies around,” said Troxell. “He has great character and commitment to his teammates. Simply put, Jack is an ‘F&M man,’ and it doesn’t surprise me that he had no hesitation to help out someone in need.”
Donaghy saw brief game action in 2018, but perhaps his biggest play came off the field when he donated bone marrow.
“I would absolutely do it again if given the opportunity,” said Donaghy.