Robin Mach and Kayleigh Kulage went through a six-hour surgery for the transplant.
In a heartwarming incident, the gesture of a kind-hearted teacher extended the life of one of her little students. According to People, Robin Mach from Missouri came to the rescue of her student, Kayleigh Kulage after she needed a kidney immediately.
The 46-year-old teacher, who had been teaching the 5-year-old for two years knew her student's medical history. Also, she knew how desperate Kayleigh's parents, Josh and Desiree Kulage were to find their daughter a new kidney. "I just asked Desiree one day, because I knew Kayleigh really needed it, so I thought, 'Why not try?'" said the teacher, who admitted to not thinking twice before offering to help the family.
Missouri Teacher Donates Her Kidney to 5-Year-Old Student: 'I Didn't Think Twice' https://t.co/CnLQNgtAgq— People (@people) May 3, 2021
Mach's kindness was a big relief for the little girl's couple, who had watched her endure pain since her birth. Born premature at 26 weeks, the pre-schooler spent more than 150 days in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Soon, the baby girl was diagnosed with partial blindness, a compromised immune system, and failing kidneys. To keep her body running, the kid was required to go through 11 hours of dialysis treatment every day. With health conditions taking a toll on her, Josh and Desiree were keen on getting a donor for her when she reached the minimum height and weight requirements for a transplant.
Fortunately, the transplant became a reality due to Mach. Shortly after she extended her hand of help, the pre-school teacher went through a couple of tests to see if her kidney was suitable for the girl. Meanwhile, her parents remained worried as it was a challenge to find the right size of kidney for their child.
Fortunately, everything fell in place and Mach's kidney was perfect for the little girl. So, in February 2021, the teacher and her student went through a successful six-hour kidney transplant at joint hospitals in St. Louis. The removal of Mach's kidney took place at Saint Louis University Hospital. The kidney was then transported to Kayleigh at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital via an underground tunnel.
With a fully functioning new kidney, Kayleigh is happy. "She's an extremely resilient kid — she likes to point to her scar and show off her new kidney," said the mother of the child. However, the little child has no idea that her kidney came from her favorite teacher. "She sees her as her playtime buddy," said Desiree, alluding to Mach. She also added that she would never "find the right words" to thank Mach.
The teacher, on the other hand, is hoping her story would inspire others to donate organs. "I don't think people realize how easy it is to donate [an organ], so I hope by sharing our story, more people will think about doing it," said the teacher.
After four years of being on dialysis, 5-year-old Kayleigh underwent a successful kidney transplant—thanks to her teacher Robin Mach who was a match. https://t.co/1rPY0lLEkP pic.twitter.com/JJCPR4Abwl— ABC News (@ABC) March 18, 2021
The teacher and student's story garnered a lot of support. The Pacific, Missouri community stood by the two during the transplant surgery. The Doris Hoffman Early Childhood Center, where Mach works also raised money to support the child's treatments. While Mach is glorified for her heartless gesture, she does not believe she deserves any added praise.
"If a kid needs a backpack or shoes at school, I get them the backpack or shoes. It's kind of the same thing … Kayleigh needed a kidney, and whatever she needs, I'm going to give it to her," she said.