NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- When Lindsey Painter was hired as a first-grade teacher at Hoffmann Elementary School, her coworkers soon found out that she was not only a match for the school, but also for one very special student.
Six-year-old Matthew Parker's kidneys began failing when he was only three weeks old. After his body rejected one transplant, doctors gave him a 1 percent chance of finding a second donor. Doctors at University Transplant Center in San Antonio held a press conference, publicly pleading for donors. More than 70 people were tested, including Painter -- and she was a match.
When it came back that I was a match, it was shocking," Painter said. "It did take a while to wrap my head around it, to think that I can do this, I can still live a normal life...and I get to make this amazing difference in Matthew's life."
Doctors will remove one of Painter's kidneys laproscopically in mid-March. The procedure could mean Matthew, who is on dialysis three days a week and at school two days a week, could go back to school full-time.
"He just captures your heart from the second you meet him," Painter said.
Principal Krista Moffatt said she placed the Parker triplets into Painter's classroom because of her nurturing and caring nature.
"She's literally the perfect match for Matthew," Moffatt said in a statement. "This act personifies her character as someone willing to perform a selfless deed, expecting nothing in return but to try and make a little boy she cares so much about well again."
As for Matthew? He said he's looking forward to many things that people so often take for granted: Swimming, eating chocolate and running on the playground. If all goes well, Matthew is expected to fully recover about eight weeks after the surgery.
"I told him that God had put it in someone's heart, they wanted to be a donor," said Lisa Parker, Matthew's mother. "I think they should know what a great person she is."
Go here for information on registering as a donor.