An Ohio teacher is teaching us all about selflessness, giving the gift of life through living organ donation.
A fourth grader at Slate Ridge Elementary in Reynoldsburg needs a kidney transplant. A teacher at her school is a perfect match.
Ten-year-old Eva and fourth-grade teacher Tanya Thomas started the school year as strangers. They had no idea a Facebook post would bring them together in a remarkable way.
Slate Ridge Elementary School Principal Micca Conley said Thomas considers her students like her own.
“We are moms first and teachers second and she has taken that expectation obviously to the next level,” said Conley.
“She’s not even Eva’s teacher, she’s just a teacher at her school who responded to a Facebook post and who does that for somebody they don’t know?” said Eva’s mom, Alana Brown, speaking in admiration of Thomas.
Eva has a rare disease called collapsing FSGS and she needs a kidney transplant. Since she was diagnosed a little more than a year ago, Brown said there have been many setbacks.
Just last week Eva had to be re-admitted to the hospital.
“We had to stop her dialysis and bring her into the ER,” said Brown. “She’s going through a lot so they just have to get her stable. She hasn’t eaten since Friday.”
After learning how sick Eva was, Thomas started the process to see if she qualified to be Eva’s organ donor months ago.
“There was really no question and no hesitation. I felt like it was my opportunity to say we’re going to give this a try and if it doesn’t work I have to be okay with that,” said Thomas.
She got tested and learned she was a perfect match.
“I kind of just have that feeling of hey I’ve got two, I’ll give one. No sweat off my back,” said Thomas.
Thomas and Eva finally met and the transplant has been scheduled for next month. Brown said this teacher taught her there really are angels among us.
“I thought I was going to lose my baby and now I can watch her grow up. I can watch her play. I can see her go to prom, and get married one day, and I look forward to seeing the woman she’s going to be and that’s because of Tanya Thomas,” said Brown.
Because Eva was recently admitted to the hospital, her transplant was moved from the end of May, until June, when she has regained her strength.
Both Thomas and Brown said they wanted to speak out to help spread awareness about the importance of organ donation. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says more than 116,000 men, women and children were on the national transplant waiting list as of August 2017. It says America has an organ shortage and 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. It also says each year the number of people on the waiting list continues to be much larger than both the number of donors and transplants. One person can donate up to eight lifesaving organs. Living donors most frequently donate a kidney.
To learn more about Eva and donate to help fund medical expenses visit: www.youcaring.com/Kidney4Eva