Teachers give up a lot for their students. Their summer vacations are spent writing out meticulous lesson plans for the upcoming year, their hard-earned money is put towards school supplies, and their hearts often care for students who need it most.
One science teacher at F.K. White Middle School in Lake Charles, La., however, is giving a kidney to a student she didn’t even know.
Heather Mallet felt that donating a kidney to a former student at her school was a calling. “It’s just something I know I’m supposed to do,” she said, according to KPLC.
Hayden Diaz, who was 12 years old during the 2016-2017 school year, had a terrifying health scare — his kidneys gave out on him. To be close to family, his mother, Gloria Diaz, moved the young student to Texas, where Hayden is bound to a dialysis machine every night.
“They’re functioning at less than 10 percent, so every night for about 13 hours, he’s hooked to the machine,” Gloria told the outlet, referring to her son’s kidneys. “So the machine acts as a big kidney for him to take out all the toxins that he can’t get rid of on his own.”
Mallet never had Hayden in a class, but when she heard about his story, she felt a strong connection to his particular health issue and wanted to help.
“In 2016, I had a very good friend who was suffering from diabetes and doing dialysis, and I convinced him to let me donate a kidney to him, and he would always tell me to donate to a child,” she said. Mallet’s friend passed away within a year.
Six months after her friend’s death, Hayden was enrolled at her school. Mallet says the news that both his kidneys were failing “was a sign.”
The significance of such a gift is not lost on Hayden’s mom Gloria. “It’s like a huge blessing,” the mother said. “I’m ready and I know he is for the next step, and for him to be off of [the dialysis machine] and just be a kid again.”
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