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Teacher Donates Life-Saving Kidney to School Custodian



  • When a third-grade teacher Erin found out that their school custodian needed a life-saving kidney transplant, she decided she wanted to help.
  • After taking some tests, she found out she was a match!
  • So the two underwent a successful surgery and became closer friends since.

Erin Durga, 38, a third-grade teacher at Minnesota’s Kimball Elementary School, was considered an angel by the family of her school’s custodian, Patrick Mertens, 64, after she became his kidney donor.

Photo Credit: Lynda Mertens

It turns out that the two have known each other previously.

All three of Erin’s children attended the daycare facility that Patrick’s wife ran. And as Patrick cleaned Erin’s classroom after her classes, the two talked about their families. They had no idea that one’s life would eventually depend on the other.

Back in 2018, Patrick was told that his kidneys were in critical condition, such that he may die if he doesn’t get a transplant in the next 5 years.

His daughter, Kayla, decided to share the situation on Facebook.

Erin told The Washington Post that she had once considered becoming a surrogate as a way to give back, but after seeing Kayla’s post, she decided she would help out. So, she took some tests during the summer and found out she was a match.

Photo Credit: Lynda Mertens

Patrick’s wife, Lynda, shared her pleasant surprise: “Who expects a teacher to give their kidney to a custodian?”

The pair then underwent surgery in July at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Erin shared, “I felt in my heart, from the very beginning, that this was my thing. Once I decided that, yes, I’m going to donate to Pat, I felt really good about it, and I was at peace with it throughout the entire thing.”

Photo Credit: M Health Fairview

The surgery was a success. Their recovery was quick and the pair were back in school by August.

A grateful Patrick shared, “I told Erin, when I first woke up out of surgery, it was nothing I’ve ever felt before. It was a new life.”

The two became closer friends ever since. Erin shares that she goes “out of her way” to check in with Patrick, especially during these tough times.

Lynda said, “She’s our miracle, our angel. We’ll forever be grateful for her.”

Source: Inside Edition