A teacher, Marie Bell, donated her kidney to her student's sick father. Bell stepped out on faith, and the student's father, Marshall Smith, calls Bell his "God-sent" donor, sent to help him beat kidney failure.
"I didn't think God made people like her anymore," the grateful father told WFAA news station.
Bell originally did not know that Smith was in need. His son, 5-year-old Sean, came to class late one day; thinking that the father of eight was due for a life-changing kidney transplant, the family had let the grade-schooler stay home to be with his dad.
Unfortunately, the kidney Smith was to receive was diseased, and doctors could not proceed. The transplant would have put a stop to Smith's painful, 4-hour, 3-times-a-week dialysis treatments. Sean came to school late with a note explaining the situation, and Bell couldn't help feeling sorry for the father.
"That was the first I'd known that Marshall was on dialysis and had been for two years," the teacher told reporters. "I just boldly asked Sean's mom in an email, 'What can we do?' She told me I could check with the donor program. One day after school I just called."
That's when a miracle happened.
Donors must have the same ABO blood group type and share as many HLA and minor antigens as possible in order for a kidney to not be rejected by the body in which it's implanted. Otherwise, it could be back to the kidney waiting list- many dialysis patients wait an average of three to five years for an operation.
"On February 9, our lives changed forever. We were told I was a match," Bell told WFAA.
"Everything matches!" said Smith, expressing his excitement at the positive results of various tests. "I mean every single thing she has done has come out to be a match. That's God-sent."
Despite the risks Bell could undergo with the surgery and surviving with only one good kidney, she decided to proceed.
"How could I look at that little boy, in his eyes every day, greet him as caregiver, teacher, as his educator, and as a mother and know that I didn't try?" said Bell candidly.
The operation was a success. Tuesday evening, both Bell and Smith were resting afterwards, with no complications reported.
Though Bell selfless act helped save the life of her student's father, she claims she is the one who has been "blessed" through the experience.
"I am blessed to know this family; blessed to have this child in my classroom," she said simply. "I am blessed."
Marshall Smith, now healthy with his new kidney, said his reliance on God brought him healing.
"He is still a miracle worker, because she's my miracle," said Smith.