On March 19, New Braunfels, Texas teacher Lindsey Painter will give six-year-old triplet Matthew Parker, her first grade student, the gift of life — one of her kidneys.
Matthew received his first kidney transplant when he was just two years old, after a blood infection and low blood pressure caused his kidneys to fail. Sadly, his little body began to reject the new kidney a year ago, and because he has developed antibodies to most kidneys, his chances of finding a second were going to be incredibly difficult.
Parker’s teacher learned about his need for a new kidney last December when his mom let her know the triplets would be missing class due to a press conference they were doing in San Antonio, where the hospital is located, to make a plea to the public. Painter immediately did her research about the surgery, then got in line to be tested herself. As it turns out, she was a perfect match and will have the surgery in just a couple of weeks.
Life after surgery will be exciting for Matthew. He has had to miss a great deal of school, due to his illness, and that will change. Mom and dad have signed him up for swimming lessons, and he’s more than a little bit excited about getting to eat junk foods and graduate from first grade with the rest of his friends.
Recovery time for his teacher will be about three weeks. According to Hoffman Lane Elementary School PTA President Jennifer Leslie, the staff and school family are taking measures to ensure that Painter will be well taken care of during her recovery, hoping to get local businesses involved.
This story serves as a wonderful reminder of the difference great teachers make in the lives of their students. Not all teachers are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this, but what a joy that this teacher is able to give such an incredible gift to her student.