School teacher Tanya Thomas has never had fourth grader Éva Evans in her class at Slate Ridge Elementary School in Ohio. But this summer, Thomas is going to donate one of her kidneys to Éva to help cure the 10-year old of a rare disease.
Last March, a medical emergency that almost killed Éva revealed that she has a rare kidney disorder called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Éva has been on dialysis since August. She’s hooked up to the machine for 10 hours every day.
A live kidney donor is Éva’s best chance to cure her and resume a normal life. Unfortunately, none of her close family members have the same blood type, making them unable to be the donor.
Desperate to find a donor, Éva’s mom, Alana Brown, posted on social media that her daughter was in need of a new kidney. The number of people who responded was so overwhelming the post was eventually taken down. Thomas was one of the people who saw the post and wanted to help.
“At the beginning of the school year, it was mentioned that Éva was not in good health and would likely need a transplant,” Thomas explains. “When I saw the Facebook post, that’s when I said, ‘Give me her number,’ and I texted (Brown) immediately. I had to ask about which child she was.”
Thomas kept Brown up to date on every test she took, and ultimately, it was determined that she was a match to donate one of her kidneys to Éva.
At that point, Thomas hadn’t told Éva or Brown that she was a teacher at her school because the surgery date had not yet been set. But one day when Brown accompanied Éva to school, Thomas introduced herself. The chance meeting brought Brown to tears.
“When (Éva) asked why I was hugging this woman, I told her it was just because she needed a hug,” recalls Brown.
The transplant is scheduled for later this summer. In the meantime, Éva plans to document everything related to the transplant on a YouTube channel. A YouCaring page has also been set up to help Brown, a single mom, cover Éva’s medical expenses.
“We will be transplant sisters and so that’s very exciting,” says Thomas. “She’s got a long life ahead of her.”