Just this last summer, one fortunate custodian from a Minnesota grade-school heard that an unexpected person was destined to save his life. 64-year-old Patrick Mertens, needed to go on with a kidney transplant.
The Kimball Elementary School staff were already generous enough and had already spearheaded fundraisers in order to get some assistance for his ongoing dialysis treatment.
Despite this great assistance, there was no improvement in Mertens’ condition, rather it was deteriorating. Kayla, his daughter, posted a message on Facebook requesting help from potential donors. And luckily for them, someone listened to their cry—lo, they knew this person already, third-grade Kimball Elementary teacher Erin Durga.
Durga and Mertens were more than nodding acquaintances. In addition to working at the same school, Durga’s three children attended the daycare facility run by Mertens’ wife, Lynda.
In an interview with the The Washington Post, Durga said:
I felt in my heart, from the very beginning, that this was my thing. 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.Durga
After tests revealed that she was a good fit for the kidney transplant, Durga drove to Mertens’ home to tell them the good news. But she didn’t have to utter a word. The tee-shirt she wore emblazoned with “DONOR” said the whole story.
The procedure was scheduled for this past July. Mertens was nervous going in, but Durga reassured him just prior to surgery she was certain everything was going to be all right. Buoyed by her positive attitude, Mertens felt ready to face the coming ordeal.
Both patients emerged from the operation with flying colors and were well enough recovered to return to their jobs when the school year began in August.
Mertens says since the operation, things have truly turned around for him. As thankful as he is to be able to spend time with his loved ones and resume enjoyment of his favorite pastimes, the thing he and his wife are most grateful for is the amazing woman who was willing to make sure that he could.
She’s our miracle, our angel. We’ll forever be grateful for her.Lynda Mertens