Northside High grad continues selfless work on the frontlines despite struggle with illness

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A Lafayette native and 1987 graduate of Northside High is a frontline hero serving in New Orleans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a beautiful part of my life. I was called to do it,” Darnell Prejean says.

What people don’t know about Prejean is that while helping his patients battle the novel coronavirus, he himself has also been fighting his own disease.

“I work through leukemia and never looked back, always forward,” adds Prejean.

A 13 year fighter against leukemia, Prejean says there was never a doubt in his mind to put himself on the frontlines during a pandemic.

“I never let it define me. I did not let it define what I could or could not do,” says Prejean.

On top of his cancer diagnosis, in March, Prejean found himself battling the same disease his patients faced, COVID-19.

Prejean continues, “It was a rough month. I had to go to emergency room. It was very scary.”

His cancer fight now requires a bone marrow transplant.

His perfect match, his younger sister, Helena.

“I called and told him I was the match,” Helena explains.

“I’m not surprised she did it. I’m grateful,” Darnell says.

Prejean says he will receive the transplant on Tuesday and says he will have to step away from his nursing duties for a while during the recovery process.

A GoFundMe has been set up in his name if you would like to help and be involved with his journey.

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