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December 23, 2020
Date of Event:


Teacher saves custodian's life with kidney donation


Third-grade teacher Erin Durga's dad, who is also a teacher,once gave her a piece of advice: Befriend the school custodians because theyare the heart of the school. But when custodian Pat Mertens needed something itwasn't a heart — it was a kidney. 

Too proud to ask for help on his own, his daughter pleaded onFacebook for someone to donate a kidney and "help save a life." Durgasaw the post and told her husband she planned on donating a kidney. "About30 seconds into reading this, I turn to my husband, and I said, Pat needs akidney, it needs to be O-type blood, and I think it's going to be me," shesaid. 

was right. Durga was a match."Therewere tears and there were hugs and it was beautiful," Durga said. Mertensreceived the kidney transplant in July, which was a success. Both Mertens andDurga were healthy enough to return to work in August. With the donation,Mertens said he now has his life back. 

"I don't know how I can ever thank you," Mertenssaid. "I feel somewhat embarrassed almost every time he saysthat," Durga said, adding that she didn't donate her kidney for thepraise. 


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