The teacher who donated her kidney to a student she'd only met once.

Teacher donates kidney
Cindy Santos and Katelynn Ernst (image via FB)

We often hear stories about teachers who go above and beyond for their students, but this story has got to take the cake.

A 5-year-old girl has received a much needed kidney transplant from a  substitute teacher who had only met her once.

Katelynn Ernst, a kindergarten student from Pennsylvania, has hemolytic uremic syndrome, which ultimately resulted in her spending 10 hours a day bed-bound and on dialysis.

Substitute teacher Cindy Santos taught her class in September 2013, and was so touched by Katelynn’s plight, that she made the decision to give Katelynn one of her own kidneys.

She has a Facebook page, where she’s written about what happened. Here’s what she had to say:

“I like substitute teaching. My schedule can be flexible.

But the one and only time in this school year that I’ve substituted in a kindergarten class … was in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. The school nurse told me about a little girl who needed special attention.

teacher donates kidney to student
Katelynn and Cindy. (Image via FB)

She was Katelynn Ernst … a petite dark haired child who was on dialysis ten hours a day … waiting for a kidney donor.

I was drawn to Katelynn. She was quieter than the others, but had a sweet smile and engaging eyes.

A few days later Katelynn was still on my mind, when her photo “popped up” on my Facebook. I clicked, and came to a page called

Her parents had listed the initial requirements for a donor.


After she looked through the requirements needed to be a successful donor, she realised she ticked all the boxes and signed herself up.

Within hours, she received a phone call from a donor coordinator who said she only had a one in 85 chance of being a successful match.

Incredibly (and luckily for Katelynn), Cindy was a perfect match.

Transplant surgery was scheduled two weeks later, in mid December, which meant we
could both be home for Christmas.

Katelynn and I both came through with flying colors. And we had a sweet reunion on Valentines Day.

And as if this story couldn’t get any more amazing, it turns out Cindy actually had a serious medical condition, that was only diagnosed when she agreed to donate her kidney:

But, for me … there was one more unexpected bonus. During the testing doctors discovered I had a rare medical condition: Pelvic Conjestive Syndrome.

I’d been suffering stomach cramping … but never had it checked. I learned that having my kidney removed … not only relieved pain … I avoided certain surgery!

That’s a godwink!

As I look back… I believe I was put in Katelynn’s classroom on that one day…
not by coincidence, but by divine alignment.”

To remain updated with the progress of Katelynn, you can visit her Facebook page.

Have you or has anyone in your life even needed an organ transplant? Would you consider doing this for someone you’d met only once?