OAKFIELD, WI — Most people have a story or two about teachers who really gave of themselves. But Natasha Fuller’s most likely trumps everyone’s. Her teacher, Jodi Schmidt, gave her a kidney.
Natasha is an eight-year-old, a student at Oakfield Elementary School in Wisconsin.
She suffered from prune belly syndrome, a rare birth defect marked by urinary tract problems and weak abdominal muscles.
For the brave 2nd grader, the clock was ticking.
Natasha endured regular dialysis as she waited on the national donor list, desperately hoping for a kidney transplant.
Through it all, she attended school part-time with a bright smile.
A happenstance discovery
Teacher Schmidt did not know the extent of Natasha’s problem until she stumbled upon a Facebook post. Natasha’s family was pleading for a kidney.
On the drive home from work, she made her decision.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” Schmidt told CNN. “Then it totally just hit me, and I told myself I’m going to get tested for it.”
Schmidt was a perfect match. Doctors performed the transplant in May.
After the surgery, teacher and student held hands in the hospital.
“She’s part of my family. I love her a lot” said Natasha about the teacher.
Many good years ahead
Before the kidney transplant, Natasha could not participate in a lot of things regular kids do. She didn’t swim or eat junk food.
“It helped me knowing that she truly is healed and she’ll survive and get many, many good years from my kidney,” Jodi said.
Over the summer, she splashed around at her first pool party and ate things like chocolate.
“I do like Chocolate M&Ms and Kit Kats. Kit Kats are my favorite,” she said.
As Natasha grows up, her tastes may become more sophisticated.
But one thing won’t change, that unique bond with her lifesaving teacher.