Colorado teacher takes in student so teen can get kidney transplant

Published: Friday, May 31, 2019 @ 6:16 AM

A 13-year-old Colorado teen moved closer to getting a kidney transplant.
A 13-year-old Colorado teen moved closer to getting a kidney transplant.(RawPixel/Pixabay)

A 13-year-old Colorado teen needs a kidney but was considered ineligible for a transplant because he is homeless.

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His teacher at an Aurora charter school is helping to make it possible by adopting the boy and giving him a stable home, KDVR reported.

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Finn Lanning, a math teacher at AXL Academy, decided to become a foster parent to Damien, a seventh-grader who suffers from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. The condition requires 12 hours of dialysis a day, the television station reported.

"It's challenging as a teacher to show up and do everything you can for your students," Lanning told KMGH. “But when one of those students is dealing with something exceptional, it's hard to look the other way."

Because he was homeless, Damien could not be placed on the transplant list.

“When you’re living in the hospital, you’re not able to be on the transplant list because folks who don’t have stable housing are considered high risk for their organ not to work,” Lanning told KDVR.

“I get picked on at school, because it's like, 'Oh, it's your math teacher, that's really weird,' but I've got my own math tutor," Damien told the television station.

Now that he is in a more stable environment, Damien has been moved to the top of the waiting list for a new kidney, KDVR reported. He is hoping he can have the transplant within the next two weeks.

Lanning said his new role as a parent has been “a wild ride."

"It's a 24-hour commitment," Lanning told KMGH. "It's been exhausting and wonderful, and maybe the hardest thing I've ever done."

GoFundMe page has been started for Damien. As of Friday morning, more than $47,600 had been raised.