New Braunfels teacher donates kidney to 6-year-old student

A New Braunfels elementary school teacher is giving one of her students the gift of life.

First-grade teacher Lindsey Painter is donating a kidney to six-year-old Matthew Parker in about one month.

"It still feels like a dream," said Matthew's mother, Lisa Parker.

Painter was hired at Hoffman Lane Elementary last summer.

"We interviewed her and the interview panel all felt that she would be a great match for our campus. Little did we know what kind of match she would be for our campus," said Principal Krista Moffat.

It was in Painter's classroom where she met Matthew, a triplet with a serious medical condition.

"He does dialysis three days a week. It's in San Antonio and we do live here in New Braunfels. He travels three days a week and it's a full day, so he only goes to school two days a week," said Lisa.

When Matthew was just three weeks old his kidneys began to fail. He was placed on dialysis for two years until he received a kidney transplant. Just a few years later his body rejected the donor organ and he was placed back on the transplant list.

"For Matthew it was really hard because he's already had a transplant, so it makes him hard to match up," said Lisa.

Since December, 80 people have been tested to see if they could be a match for Matthew. Painter was first in line.

"I knew right away that I needed to find out if I could help Matthew," said Painter.

There was only a one percent chance that Painter would make the cut. After several rounds of tests, she got her results.

"She came in with this huge smile and said, 'I can help him. I can do something for Matthew. I am the match," said Moffat.

"For it to be an exact match too, it was a miracle," said Lisa.

"So many people came forward trying to help him and I'm the one that gets to do it. I mean, I feel very lucky," said Painter.

Before telling Matthew's family, Painter said she did her homework about the risks of the surgery.

"I just realized I could donate my kidney to Matthew and he could live a normal life and I could continue to live a normal life as well," said Painter.

After considering it for a few weeks, Painter's mind was made up.

"He deserves to come to school every day, he deserves to play sports and run and not have the restrictions that he does," said Painter.

Painter said one of the hardest decisions was figuring out if she could afford to take off enough time from work to recover. That's where the staff at Hoffman Lane Elementary came in.

"We immediately said we are going to make this as easy on her as we possibly can," said Moffat.

"Matthew's insurance will cover my portion of the surgery and my amazing campus has stepped up to cover the income that I'll lose while I'm out of work," said Painter.

As long as Painter and Matthew stay healthy enough for surgery in mid-March, Matthew's life will go back to normal in just a few months.

"There's no words that can say anything because it's more than thank you, it's deeper," said Lisa.

Matthew's first kidney came from a deceased donor. Doctors say using a live donor is ideal because there's a better chance that the organ has not suffered any trauma.

The average donor kidney lasts about 10 to 12 years.

If you would like to donate to Lindsey Painter you can do that here: