Mansfield teacher donating kidney to save student's life

11:12 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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MANSFIELD -- Teachers tend to have an impact on their student's lives.

But in Mansfield, one teacher's decision has the power to save one of her kids. And it's a life lesson that's getting national attention.

Nicole Miller loves painting, running around with her dog, and says she likes going to the doctor. For this squirmy little first grader, regular doctors visits are a part of life.

Nicole has a genetic disorder and was born with only one kidney, and as she grew, the kidney she had wouldn't grow with her.

"We basically emailed everybody in the world that we knew and just sent out the request, hey we need a kidney and anyone willing to give us one?," says Letitia Miller, Nicole's mom.

Over a dozen people stepped up, but no one was a tissue match.

"And then my niece was tested and she was a match, she went through the whole process, about a 6 month process and she was denied," says Miller.

In kindergarten, Nicole's condition worsened. But her teacher, Wendy Killian, couldn't tell by the little girl's demeanor.

"I always called her my sunshine girl, because she would just walk in the room every morning with such a glow and a smile and just such a joy to be in school," says Killian.

Killian was new to Mansfield Christian Academy, and was teaching kindergarten waiting for the 4th grade spot to open up.

"I accepted the job offer just as a last resort thinking, Ok Lord, you have me here for a reason, if there's one child who I need to touch, then show me which one and he sure did," says Killian.

The reason was Nicole.

"One February afternoon a year ago, I was talking with Letisia and I asked her, so if they could find a perfect donor, what is the criteria for the perfect donor, and so she went through the whole list and as she was speaking, I was thinking, ok that's me, that's me that's me."

Killian didn't even think twice about testing her tissue type. Because when her youngest son was born he was critically ill, but his life was saved by a blood platelet transfusion.

"What saved his life, what made him turn the corner was that he had a blood platelet transfusion from a donor," says Killian, "And I just sat there and prayed, Lord, if there's ever a time when I can give back to another mommy sitting in this seat, please use me."

After all the blood tests, Wendy Killian was a match.

"I was jumping up and down with joy, when she told me that she was a match, we were just ecstatic," says Miller.

By this summer, Nicole will have a new kidney.

"I know that the Lord's hands, his fingerprints, are all over this," says Killian.

The surgery is scheduled for the end of April at University Hospital in Cleveland.


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