A teacher has decided to adopt a 13-year-old student so he can have a stable home and get a kidney transplant.
Being on the waiting list for a transplant is already a traumatic thing for a young teen to have to go through, but Damien has spent most of his life in and out of foster care too.
He has focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which in short means he needs a new kidney, but in the meantime he’s gone from foster home to foster home, struggling to find somewhere to accommodate his medical needs.
Throughout his life he’s spent long stints living in hospital, during theses stays Damien is considered too high risk for organ donation, which means he’s bumped further and further down the list.
One day, Damien told his math teacher, Finn Lanning, that he wouldn’t be coming back to AXL Academy because he was on his way back to hospital.
Lanning couldn’t stand by and do nothing, so he decided to adopt Damien, to give him the stable home he needs to finally ensure he is approved for a donation.
Explaining via a GoFundMe page, Lanning wrote:
If he had a consistent home during his life, he almost certainly would have received a transplant long ago. Unfortunately, lack of stable housing has kept him from being eligible when matching kidneys became available.
This past summer, Damien was able to move in with a relative and began attending the school where I teach. Although he has significant health challenges, he is an excellent student and a kind, generous, and motivated human being. He excelled at school, and his mental and physical health improved.
These improvements allowed him to be approved by his medical team to be placed back on the transplant list – a move that meant he was likely only a few weeks or months from receiving a kidney that would make so much more possible for his life.
But unfortunately, the relative became unable to cope with Damien’s needs and he was returned to county custody, which meant another stint living in hospital.
Unable to keep his challenges off my heart and mind, I began the personal journey of considering taking on his care.
While Lanning is doing an incredible thing by taking Damien in, it doesn’t come without costs, particularly because Damien needs a strict diet which can cost up to $200 per week.
Lanning set up the GoFundMe page asking people to help financially support him in his care of Damien to ultimately get him the kidney he needs.
In three months he’s exceeded his goal of $30,000 and raised an impressive $47,288 at the time of writing.
Best of luck to the pair of them!
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.