Cindy Santos, a substitute teacher in Pennsylvania, has made headlines around the world after she donated one of kidneys to a student she met only once.
Cindy taught a kindergarten class one day and was told that one of her 5-year-old students required specific care. That student, Katelynn Ernst suffers from hemolytic uremic syndrome which required her to spend 10 hours each day bed-bound and on dialysis.
After hearing about Katelynn’s condition, Cindy found a support page on Facebook on which Katelynn’s parents had listed the initial requirements for donation. Upon discovering that she met these requirements, she signed herself up.
Just a few hours later, she received a phone call from the donor coordinator who informed her that there was only a one in 85 chance of being a successful match. But against the odds – she was a perfect match.
Undergoing the procedure in December of last year, both were able to return to their families for Christmas. The surgeries were successful and both have made a full recovery.
Cindy was reunited with Katelynn on Valentines Day of this year. And she commented on her Facebook page about how wonderful it was to see Katelynn able to live a full life and no longer needing to be bound to a dialysis machine.
Cindy also discussed the unexpected bonus of the surgery. During the testing doctors discovered that she had a rare medical condition called Pelvic Conjestive Syndrome. Having her kidney removed not only relieved her from the chronic pain she was suffering, but meant she also avoided certain surgery in the future.
Cindy said that she believes she was “put in Katelynn’s classroom that one day.. not by coincidence, but by divine alignment.”