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Sometimes you just know, instantly, when you're meant to do something. And that's how a third grade teacher from Minnesota named Erin felt when she learned that her colleague of 10 years, a custodian named Patrick, needed a kidney transplant.
"Patrick and I both started working together at Kimball Elementary about 10 years ago," Erin says. "I found out that Pat was sick because he started going to dialysis, but [no one at the school] knew quite how bad it was."
What they didn't know was that Patrick's diagnosis was Stage 5 kidney failure.
"When I got the news," Patrick's wife Lynda says, "it was like our world came crashing down around us."
As soon as his co-workers heard, Erin says the school put together a "Hats for Pat" day, where kids could wear a hat to school and bring in money to help pay for Pat's transportation to and from dialysis.
"[It was] unbelievable [that] they'd be that kind," Patrick says. "I was appreciative of it."
The school raised around $4,000, Patrick's daughter, Kayla, tells us. "It was really cool to see our little community come together."
When Patrick's family then learned that he would need a kidney transplant, Kayla convinced her mom to let her post about it on Facebook. "She convinced me that in order to find a kidney," Lynda explains, "we needed to reach out to people."
That's when Erin saw the post—and realized she was a blood-type match.
"My husband was sitting right next to me," she remembers, "and right away, I looked at him and I said, 'Pat needs a kidney. It needs to be O-type blood. I think it's going to be me.'"
"I made a shirt that said 'Donor' across the front and made a plan to go to his house to let him know that I was going to be his donor," Erin continues.
"This is a miracle, Pat," Lynda said to him at the time. "She's an angel."
"The day of the surgery," Erin recalls, "we showed up at the hospital and we gave each other a big hug, and then I was off to the OR."
"This just felt like it was right," she tells us. "It felt like it was what I was supposed to do."
"Erin has given my husband back to me," Lynda says. "Erin is an absolute blessing," Kayla adds.
"Erin saved my life," Patrick says. "Erin is my angel. I thank her every day." 🧡
We were incredibly inspired by Erin's kindness, so we asked our friend and lifestyle pro Tommy DiDario—who introduced us to Erin!—to help us pamper her for a day. Watch that go down here.