Former Tribe football player becomes stem cell donor

Posted at 11:47 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 23:47:44-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - As a former William & Mary defensive back, Corey Parker is used to defending and over the summer he helped another defend... against disease.

In July, Parker learned that he was a match for someone fighting leukemia, and without hesitation, made a stem cell donation.

"The blood work isn't really too intense or anything like that," said Parker, who was a defensive back for the Tribe from 2015-19. "It's nothing [like] the recipient, the pain they're going through, so to just think about the outcome for the other person. I felt healthy and back to normal very quickly and it could help save someone's life."

Parker joined the Be The Match registry during Tribe football's bone marrow drive, an event they host every year.

He had no doubts about becoming a donor, especially after seeing first-hand how important donors can be when his late aunt received a liver transplant that added additional years to her life.

"Before she passed she had a liver transplant so this is different, and we got an extra 12 years with her, so that’s why it was kind of just a no-brainer," Parker said. "The recipient, I haven’t met him, I don't really know anything about him, but hopefully this works out well for him and he can have a healthy future."

Parker is the latest of a handful of William & Mary football donors. During the 2019 season, three years after former Tribe offensive lineman Mark Williamson donated bone marrow, the team was introduced to the teenager who battled leukemia and was saved by Williamson's donation.

“That was a really, really, really special moment to witness," Parker said.

According to, someone dies from a blood cancer every ten minutes and with patients searching for a cure Parker encourages everyone to join the registry, because all you have to do is "swab the inside of your cheek and you send it out, and that's how they kind of cross reference to see if you’re a match for somebody.”