August 1, 2014

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8-year-old recovering after her kindergarten teacher donates kidney

CLEVELAND — An Ohio girl is recovering after getting a critical kidney transplant — with the organ donated by her former kindergarten teacher.

Nicole Miller, an 8-year-old first-grader at Mansfield Christian School, got the kidney last week from Wendy Killian, who was her kindergarten teacher last year.

“See you soon, sweet girl,” Killian told Nicole just before they both taken into the pre-operation area last week, The Mansfield News Journal reported.

Nicole suffered from a genetic disorder that caused kidney malformation and other problems. Kidney problems left her frequently tired, and caused her to miss school often.

“For her to be able to feel good and not live in a fog because her body’s not able to dispose of waste properly … seeing what she’s going to be like is the exciting part for me as a parent,” said Brian Miller, her father.

“The next six months will be the most difficult,” he said. “After six months, things can settle in, and hopefully we can really see what her life is going to be like.”

Killian became involved during a parent-teacher conference with Nicole’s mother. The teacher asked for the criteria needed to be a donor and found she met them. She said she was inspired to be a donor because her son needed and received a blood platelet transfusion a few years ago.

Killian’s husband, Stu, supported her decision, which she talked through with him.

“I thought it was a great thing to do,” he said. “God puts you in certain situations for a reason.”

Lifeline of Ohio reports that someone in Ohio dies every 48 hours while waiting for a transplant; more than 2,000 have died in that situation in the past decade.

The transplant happened April 23 at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

Nicole’s mother Letitia said receiving a new kidney from someone she knew was helpful.

“She’s been excited about the thought of getting a new kidney,” she said. “The thought of being in the same room with Wendy was really comforting to her.”