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About 20 miles south of St Cloud, Minnesota is the town of Kimball, population about 798. It's been growing a little bit each year. Why? My guess is people like Erin Durga, a third-grade teacher at Kimball Elementary, who saved someone's life on July 3rd, 2020...and Patrick Mertens, a custodian at the same school, who needed his life saved.

According to a story in the Star Tribune, she and Patrick Mertens worked in the same school, so they chatted now and then when he came in to do his custodian things. That pleasant work-friendship turned the corner into something different, though, when she learned he needed a kidney transplant.

When a Facebook post by his daughter noted that none of his relatives could donate a kidney, Durga stepped up and offered one of hers. “I knew in my heart that I could do this for someone else...Pat is a wonderful person and I can’t imagine him not being around.”

“She’s an angel,” Mertens said recently... (source)

Before and after a transplant, doctors and nurses are always quick to say you're not "cured", you've just exchanged one set of medical circumstances for another set of medical circumstances...but having been thru it, I can't thanks Erin Durga enough for donating life. Literally.


Sure Patrick Mertens will always need to be careful about germs and will always take expensive anti-rejection medication. But, he'll also be alive and moving around and, more often than he probably thinks right now...forgetting he ever had a transplant at all.

Please, this season of giving, please consider saying yes to organ donation (and if you area already an organ donor, remind your family as soon as possible). 

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