School principal Sarah Schecter didn’t imagine spending her winter break in the hospital; much less, waking up to the prospect “giddy.” But when she heard that a father of three children at her school needed a kidney, she couldn’t shake the thought of donating her own.
“I know this sounds weird, because I’m not the type of person who hears the voice of God, but I just felt called to give him my kidney,” she said to the Dallas Morning News. “I did not want to; it was not on my list of things to do. So, I just kept thinking that someone else would give him a kidney, and that it would work out. … But it kept being on my heart, that I was the person to do it.”
It all started when Nate Jones, father of three students at Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas, noticed his vision declining. After a visit to the eye doctor, he was referred to a specialist, who “looked at my situation and said, first thing, ‘How long have you had hypertension?’” Jones said. “Of course, I’d never been diagnosed. Mind you, I didn’t have any symptoms. In fact, the night before I went to see the eye doctor, I ran a mile around my neighborhood. No problem at all.”
But as the appointment progressed, the specialist warned Jones to see a doctor as soon as possible. So, Jones drove himself to an emergency room, where he ultimately stayed for two weeks for kidney failure.
“I was just in shock,” he said. “How does someone who is healthy—I thought was healthy—end up in a hospital like this?”
Despite the hospital stay and medications, Jones’ kidney still did not improve. He would either need a kidney replacement or dialysis for the rest of his life. None of his family members were potential donors because of a history of diabetes and hypertension.
When Schecter heard about the situation, she hardly knew Jones. She knew his three children—ages 14, 10, and 8—and their mother, but he rarely spoke with the principal.
“As long as I’m not being called to her office [for my kids], that’s a good thing,” Jones said.
But her faith stirred her to action for the family, despite her best efforts to ignore the calling. She asked her family, which includes her husband and two adult children, for their input, “secretly hoping” they wouldn’t allow her to go through with the procedure. But they instead encouraged her to follow through. She started the testing process to see if she was a compatible donor and sure enough, she was.
“In a way, why wouldn’t I be—since God put it on my heart, why would it not be the perfect match then?” she said. “But there was a part of me that was hoping it wouldn’t be a match, so I could get credit for doing something good, but not actually have to go through with it.”
A few short weeks later, Schecter was scheduled for a three-hour-long operation to give her kidney. Tucked into her Bible was a verse from the Psalms: “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Now dubbed “Selfless Sarah” at school, Schecter has been interviewed by ABC’s Good Morning America and showered with gifts and letters from thankful students.
“I wish I would have listened to God more,” she said. “Who knows what exciting adventures I would have taken if I had listened more?”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/ThitareeSarmkasat
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.