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Students help teacher find kidney donor

Posted: 2:05 PM, Oct 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-24 18:20:45-04

After giving birth to her son, a teacher needed a kidney to survive. That’s when her students stepped in to help her find one.

Molly Wright’s kidneys failed after complications during childbirth. She’d been on dialysis, but after weeks with no improvement, doctors suggested she get on the transplant list. Her first thought was her son Nolan.

“I knew in the back of my head that I wanted to see him grow up,” Wright said. “And I don't think I ever thought about not being here.”

She went to family, friends and her school asking for help finding a donor, not knowing the students she taught P.E. every day would take the idea and run.

“It was kind of something like we weren't sure what to do at first,” student Courtney Habermehl said. “But with a little motivation then we were like we can do this and this and this.”

The students held a rally, made posters and handed out flyers to get the word out. In just months, a woman Wright didn’t even know stepped forward, donating her kidney.

“We had a feeling like we accomplished it,” said student Logan Rozelle. “ And we help somebody and it just feels good.”

Dr. Tom Heffron performed Wright’s surgery at Presbyterian St. Luke’s and says more people are becoming living donors.

“One of the things that's changed is that it's great when people die and donate,” Dr. Heffron says. “ But living donor kidneys do even better; they last longer if they don't reject as much it's planned.“

Now with her students’ help, Wright is living a life renewed, and enjoying every moment.

“You just hear so much bad about people that when the good comes out it's never told enough,” Wright says. “How wonderful kids are how wonderful adults are and people are.”

In 2015, U.S. surgeons performed nearly 6,000 living donor transplants, nearly 200 more than the year before. Still, more than 100,000 people around the country are waiting for a kidney.