Boy Finds Rare Kidney Donor in First-Grade Class

Matthew Parker's family was told he had a 1 percent chance of finding a match.

ByABC News
February 24, 2015, 6:18 PM

— -- Lindsey Painter is teaching her first-grade class a powerful lesson, one that goes far beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

In December, when the parents and doctors of one of her students reached out to the public for help in finding a donor, Painter was one of the first to volunteer to be tested. She'd only been teaching at the school since last year.

Matthew Parker, a 6-year-old triplet, attend Painter's class with his two brothers at Hoffmann Lane Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas.

His kidneys had been failing him since he was a newborn. He'd gotten a kidney donation in 2010 but about two years ago it failed. Since then, he missed school three days out of the week to travel to San Antonio for dialysis.

Doctors said Matthew had a 1 percent chance that a second donor would be found. More than 70 people volunteered to see whether they were a match, including Painter.

"When I went in to be tested, they thanked me for coming in but also kind of prepared me for the fact that it would most likely not be a match," she told ABC News today.

Then Painter and the Parkers got mind-blowing news.

"We were shocked to find out that we were a match," said Painter, the mother of two boys, ages 6 and 10.

"She's literally the perfect match for Matthew," the school's principal, Krista Moffatt, said in a statement, according to ABC affiliate KVUE-TV. "This act personifies her character as someone willing to perform a selfless deed."

Surgery is scheduled for mid-March, officials said. One of Painter's kidneys will be removed. If the surgery is successful, he could return to school full time in eight weeks.

Painter said she hoped to see Matthew every day at the school next year as a second-grader.

"Every time I watch [my sons] active and running around and playing and loud and doing all of these things that little boys should do ... I hope that Matthew is able to get this chance once he gets his kidney," she said. "I am honored to be able to help him out this way."