A third-grade teacher in Kimball, Minnesota decided to help a custodian at the school she works at when he needed it most. His daughter put out a request on Facebook, looking for a kidney for her father. Erin Durga went out, got some tests, found out she was a match and decided to give him one of her kidneys.
When she told Patrick Martens and his family, they were in shock but grateful for her generous offer. He was already feeling guilty because the school community has done a lot by creating a crowdfunding campaign to help him get dialysis.
Patrick’s wife, Lynda Martens, told the Washington Post, “Who expects a teacher to give their kidney to a custodian?” Her husband was told by a doctor in February of 2018 that, if he didn’t receive a kidney within five years, he would be dead. Kidney donations usually take three to 10 years.
To make matters even more difficult, Patrick has Type O blood, meaning he is able to give blood to any blood type but he can only get blood from his blood type. Lynda told the Washington Post, “To watch your loved one go through that, it’s just so heartbreaking. They can’t do the things that they used to do.”
Durga wanted to do what she could to help Patrick and she felt she could. She told the Washington Post, “I felt in my heart, from the very beginning, that this was my thing. Once I decided that, yes, I’m going to donate to Pat, I felt really good about it, and I was at peace with it throughout the entire thing.”
She found out that she was a match in June and surprised Patrick with the news. She arrived at his house and jumped out of her minivan wearing a shirt that said “DONOR” on it. He mentioned to the Post that he doesn’t get emotional but he definitely cried when he got the news.
July 3, the two went into surgery and she gave him the opportunity to continue living. When the two awoke from surgery, Martens spoke to Durga that night and kept calling her “an angel.”
“I told Erin, when I first woke up out of surgery, it was nothing I’ve ever felt before,” Patrick told the Washington Post, “It was a new life.”
His wife Lynda said, “She’s our miracle; our angel. We’ll forever be grateful for her.”