I love you with all my kidney.
My absolute favorite professor at University of Texas at Dallas was Dr. Larry Cauller; G-d rest his soul. He acquired Hepatitis as a medic in Vietnam and his liver suffered for it.
He used to quip, “You shouldn’t say I love you with all of my heart, because there’s a replacement for a heart; there’s no replacement for a liver!”
So it is with kidneys; the alternative-dialysis. That’s what makes this story so amazing; a gift of life, free from constraints for a little boy.
First grade teacher Lindsey Painter turned out to be a perfect match for first-grader Matthew Parker. The “match” was right in front of them all along.
With the help of University Hospital (San Antonio), the Parkers searched the whole country to find Matt a kidney.
“Not just anyone would submit their name,” Parker says.
Little did they know, the perfect donor was in their own backyard.
“I was shocked,” Parker says with tears in her eyes.
The donor is Lindsey Painter, Matt’s first grade teacher at Hoffmann Lane Elementary in the Comal Independent School District.
“It is completely mind-blowing,” Painter says. “The coordinator of the hospital called me Christmas Eve to tell me I was a match.”
Several weeks of testing later, doctors confirmed Painter could donate her kidney – a decision she didn’t take lightly.
“I have a ten-year-old and six-year-old at home, little boy,” she says. “And I just can’t imagine having a child who is going through what Matt has gone through.”
Matt goes to school part-time to accommodate the four-hour long dialysis appointments that keep him alive. Yet, that thousand-watt smile never leaves his face.
“Once he found out that he’s getting a transplant, he’s been so giddy every day,” Parker says. “He’s been so excited.”
As Painter reads a book aloud to Matt, Parker reflects on the bond that will connect student and teacher for the rest of their lives.
“It will be a story to tell when he gets older,” Parker says. “She was selfless and just a giving person. I think it’s really a miracle.”
University Hospital and Matt’s family are keeping the website they used to search for a donor open. Visit www.MattsWish.com to register and potentially save a life.
I miss you Dr. Cauller.