A Minnesota teacher selflessly donated one of her kidneys to a school custodian in order to save his life.
64-year-old Patrick Mertens was in need of a kidney transplant to save his life. Despite having people help him financially with his dialysis treatment, his condition continued to deteriorate. Seeing how her father is suffering, Patrick’s daughter Kayla took to Facebook to find a willing kidney donor.
Someone responded to her post and to their surprise, it was someone close to their family. The potential donor was Erin Durga, the third-grade Kimball Elementary teacher where Patrick works as a school custodian.
In addition to working at the same school, Erin was close to the Mertens as she had her three children attend the daycare Patrick’s wife Lynda owned. Erin and Patrick often chatted about their families with one another after school. Lynda also grew close to Erin as they always bonded with each other when she picked up her children from daycare.
Their bond only grew stronger when Erin decided to donate her kidney to Patrick.
“I felt in my heart, from the very beginning, that this was my thing,” Durga told The Washington Post. “Once I decided that, yes, I’m going to donate to Pat, I felt really good about it, and I was at peace with it throughout the entire thing.”
Medical tests showed that Erin was a good kidney donor for Patrick. The procedure was then scheduled for July 2020. Patrick was nervous to undergo surgery, however, because of Erin’s positive attitude, Patrick felt reassured that everything would be alright.
Both of them came out of the surgery well. They both quickly recovered and returned to their jobs when the school year began, a month after the surgery.
Thanks to Erin’s selfless act, Patrick can now live a free and joyful life without having to fear for his life. And he was able to spend more time with his loved ones. Lynda believes that Erin is a miracle sent to them from God.
“She’s our miracle, our angel,” Lynda Mertens said. “We’ll forever be grateful for her.”