Teacher Saves Janitor’s Life by Donating Kidney

A Minnesota third-grade teacher saved a school janitor's life by donating one of her kidneys after she read a Facebook post pleading for someone to "help save a life."
Lynda Mertens

A Minnesota third-grade teacher saved a school janitor’s life by donating one of her kidneys after she read a Facebook post pleading for someone to “help save a life.”

Custodian Pat Mertens’s daughter put out a call on Facebook pleading for someone to donate a kidney to her father.

Erin Durga, the third-grade teacher at Kimball Elementary School, had befriended Mertens from their evening talks while she finished her work and he cleaned the classroom, the Washington Post reported.

When Durga learned that Mertens needed a kidney transplant, she immediately told her husband she planned to donate.

“About 30 seconds into reading this, I turn to my husband, and I said, Pat needs a kidney, it needs to be O-type blood, and I think it’s going to be me,” she said.

Durga and Mertens turned out to be a match, and the two underwent the transplant surgery on July 3 at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Before the transplant surgery, Durga set up a GoFundMe page for Mertens’s dialysis treatments that raised $3,200.

The surgery turned out to be a success, and both Durga and Mertens were healthy enough to return to work by August.

Mertens said he had gained his life back.

“I don’t know how I can ever thank you,” Mertens said.

“I feel somewhat embarrassed almost every time he says that,” Durga said, adding that she did not donate her kidney to receive praise.

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