Teacher Takes In Sick Student To Help Him Get Kidney Transplant

Inspiration | By Adrianna Zavala | June 25, 2019

Teachers have a tough job. Not only is there pay lower than to be desired. They also end up having to spend so much more time working than many other professions. Teachers are the ones who spend the most time with our children, so their importance in our society cannot be understated.

Ultimately, we end up hearing many stories of teachers going above and beyond the call of duty because it is in their very nature. If someone decides to become a teacher, it's because they know and understand the challenges and are willing to take these challenges on for the good of our children.

There are many different struggles children may go through as they grow up, but one such struggle that isn't as expected is when a child needs a new kidney. This story proves that the bigger the problem, the greater lengths a great teacher is willing to go to help their student.

Damien is a 13-year-old with Kidney Failure

When you think about what a math teacher could do to go above and beyond the call of duty, you might imagine staying late to help tutor a student, or something of that nature. Finn Lanning is a middle school math teacher in Aurora, Colorado at AXL Academy, and he soared far beyond simply helping to tutor a student. He opened his home up to a student so that the student could have a chance at receiving a kidney.

Lanning's student, Damien, is just 13-years-old, and ever since he was 8 he struggled with failing kidneys. He uses a dialysis machine 12 hours at a time, which is hard enough for any kid. What made this even harder for Damien is the fact that he is a foster kid. Most foster families couldn't accommodate him, so he would be sent back, often having to live at the hospital.

Finn Lanning Couldn't Look the Other Way

The most tragic aspect of Damien losing his homes and being sent to the hospital is that his lack of permanent housing would consistently remove him from the donor list. This is because not having a permanent home is considered high-risk, which disqualifies you from receiving a donor kidney.

That's where Finn Lanning comes in. When Mr. Lanning visited Damien at the hospital to catch him up on the classes activities, he learned about Damien's tragic removal from the donor list. After hearing this, Lanning's decision was clear. He told KDVR, "as I learned more about his story and what he was facing and what his needs were and why they weren't being met, it just became really hard for me to look the other way." Lanning accepted Damien into his home, which as been a struggle, but they have had support from others.

Lanning Plans to Adopt Damien

Finn Lanning takes time out of his work day to train to become a proper caregiver for Damien. His fellow teachers have helped by sharing sick days, especially since Lanning must take Damien to his doctor's appointments. Damien also has a restrictive diet which costs a lot of money to upkeep. Luckily Lanning started a GoFundMe which has raised more than $50,000.

With Finn Lanning's help, Damien is now on the donor list. Lanning also plans on eventually adopting Damien. Lanning told KDVR, "Damien deserves, at the very least, to have a place he can call home, and these funds will make furnishing our home possible. Additional funds raised will be used to provide opportunities Damien hasn't been able to access for the last several years including cooking classes and maybe a family vacation once he is healed from transplant."



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