Stranger donates kidney to 10-year-old with rare disease—but then they find out where she works

"There was really no question and no hesitation."
June 5, 2018 4:48 pm Last Updated: June 5, 2018 4:48 pm

To some people the idea of donating an organ is daunting, while to others the decision to give another person a second chance at life is a no-brainer.

“I kind of just have that feeling of hey I’ve got two, I’ll give one,” Tanya Thomas told WCMH. “No sweat off my back.”

Eva, 10, has a rare disease with no known cure.

(WCMH/Screenshot)

Last March, shortly after Eva and her family had dinner at a Japanese restaurant and returned to their home in Ohio, the 10-year-old’s face began to swell. Her mother brought her to an urgent care center where she was treated for an allergic reaction, but after the swelling came back, Eva was rushed to the hospital.

“They ran some tests and it came back that she had 4-percent kidney function,” Alana Brown, Eva’s mother, told WSYX.

Eva’s kidneys were barely functional.

She was diagnosed with a rare disease called collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (cFSGS)—had Eva not received medical attention, she would have died.

Since there is no known cure, Eva’s only option was a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, finding a kidney for the girl was more difficult than anyone anticipated.

A friend posted on Facebook about Brown’s struggle to find Eva a kidney.

(WCMH/Screenshot)

One of Brown’s friends asked if they could post on Facebook about Eva’s desperate need for a kidney. Brown agreed and was overwhelmed by the response.

Many people offered their well-wishes while others said they would get tested to see if they would be a match.

One of those people was Tanya Thomas.

Tanya Thomas saw the Facebook post and wanted to see if she could help.

(WCMH/Screenshot)

“There was really no question and no hesitation,” Thomas told WCMH. “I felt like it was my opportunity to say we’re going to give this a try and if it doesn’t work I have to be okay with that.”

Thomas went through all the necessary testing and learned she was a match.

What the Browns didn’t know was that the stranger willing to donate her kidney to Eva was also a teacher at Eva’s elementary school.

Thomas was a match!

(WCMH/Screenshot)

Although Thomas isn’t Eva’s teacher and the two had never met before, she told WSYX that she felt it was the right thing to do.

“We will be transplant sisters and so that’s very exciting,” she said. “She’s got a long life ahead of her.”

Brown was extremely grateful for Thomas’ unselfish act and realizes that it’s because of her that she’ll be able to see her daughter grow up.

The surgery is scheduled to take place in June.

Eva is excited about the transplant as well.

“She says ‘mom I’m going to have a teacher’s DNA! I’m going to have to be a good teacher someday,'” Brown shared with WSYX.

Unfortunately Eva was recently admitted into the hospital, so the surgery which was supposed to take place at the end of May was moved to June.

Leading up to the transplant and after the surgery, they all want to get the word out about the importance of living donors. According to ABC News, Eva wants to document her journey on YouTube for other kids to see, while both Brown and Thomas want to educate others on the importance of organ donation.

You can learn more about organ donation here.