This amazing teacher donated her kidney to her 8-year-old student
Wisconsin teacher Jodi Schmidt gave one of her students much more than an education — she gave her a kidney and a life. Oakfield Elementary student Natasha Fuller, 8, went into surgery with her teacher last week after years of being ill with prune belly syndrome, a group of birth defects that caused Natasha to need kidney dialysis in recent years.
“She has been sick her whole life, so she feels like that’s normal for her, and I’m just excited to watch her actually feel good,” Jodi, who agreed to be Natasha’s special donor back in March, told NBC Nightly News.
Last Tuesday, the transplant was conducted successfully at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and the two are recovering amazingly. “Thanks to Jodi’s amazing gift and support of her family, we are with Tasha as she recovers and gets stronger after the transplant,” Natasha’s family said in a statement. “Her doctors. . . say that everything went well and that we could not have asked for a better organ.”
Months ago, Jodi was inspired to get tested after she saw Natasha’s constant upbeat attitude and smile even in the face of her poor health. “She’s pretty sociable, so she catches everyone she can [to chat]. It takes a long time for her to get from Point A to Point B,” Jodi told ABC. “Many people after this started didn’t know she was sick at all. She’s happy and looks healthy.”
However, Natasha has been unable to do many things that other kids can, such as swimming, because of tubes attached to her body. That’s exactly why Jodi immediately decided to follow through with the kidney transplant after she found out that she was a perfect match.
“It was the best day ever,” Jodi told ABC. “I was on the phone and I think I screamed in [the transplant coordinator’s] ear.”
As for Natasha, she’s excited to be able to eat more chocolate, eat more fries, and swim — but she’s extra excited to be “friends forever” with her life-saving teacher. YEP, we’re misty-eyed over here. Watch Natasha’s big smile below and be prepared to feel a lot of feelings.
You can learn more about becoming a kidney donor at Kidney.org.