REAL LIFE

One Outstanding Teacher From Ohio Is Donating Her Kidney To A School Girl Who Needs A Transplant

Date May 18, 2018

While kidney transplants may not seem like a major hassle for adults with kidney related problems, the same cannot be said for children. Children will need two or more kidney donations in their lifetime to maintain a healthy life.

Although the odds of survival were once slim, they have greatly improved in recent times. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis showed a 100% survival rate of pediatric kidney transplant patients.

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Srinath Chinnakotla, MD, FACS, led the study and provided this summary.

Thanks to advances in immunosuppressive [antirejection] medications including steroid-free drugs, better surgical technique, and improved management of infections after kidney transplant, children ages 10 years and younger now have the best long-term graft survival of all ages.

Ohio teacher is donating her kidney to a student

Tanya Thomas, a fourth-grade teacher at Slate Ridge Elementary School in Ohio, has offered her kidney to little Eva Brown who has been on the waiting list.

Eva started displaying signs of kidney failure in March 2017. She was with her mother at a Japanese restaurant having diner when her face began to swell up. Her mother, Alana Brown, rushed her to a hospital where she was treated for allergies.

Surprisingly, the swelling resumed an hour later. Alana took Eva to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Doctors discovered that Eva had only 4% of her kidneys working. Thanks to her mother’s quick thinking, Eva’s life was saved, as she may have died within days of the first incident.

Eva suffers from collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (cFSGS), a rare form of kidney failure. Her condition was even worse as finding a suitable donor proved an uphill task.

Tanya Thomas found out about Eva on Facebook and kept in touch with the family, sharing with them information she had about tests she had taken to find out if she was a suitable donor. It turns out she was.

Alana was overwhelmed with excitement when she finally met Tanya Thomas and even more so when she found out Tanya was a teacher at her daughter’s school. “I just started crying,” Alana said.

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Tanya told ABC-affiliate WSYX in Columbus that she is happy to be of help as she has been "blessed with this good health".

We will be transplant sisters and so that's very exciting. She's got a long life ahead of her.

The operation is scheduled for May 30. Eva’s journey will be documented on YouTube as a bid to raise awareness about pediatric kidney conditions. Also, the family has started a crowdfunding page for Eva.

Outpouring of love

Word is making the rounds about Tanya Thomas’ kind gesture and it seems hardly surprising to many people who know her for her kindness.

Donor agencies, such as Gift of Life, oversee the complex process involved in finding suitable donors and ensuring that organs are the right for patients on the donation waiting list.

Organs from living donors are preferred, as they have lower risk of recipient rejection. Then, organs may be harvested and transplanted.

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