Substitute Teacher Gives Student a Priceless Gift


Cindy Santos is a substitute teacher from Pennsylvania. Last school year she was asked to substitute in a kindergarten class in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. It was there that nurses alerted her that a little girl would need special attention, because she was suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome. The girl was Katelynn Ernst, 5, who needed ten hours of dialysis every day while she waited for a kidney. Santos says, “I was drawn to Katelynn. She was quieter than the oCindy_Santos_donated_her_kidney_to_katelynn_last_Decemberthers, but had a sweet smile and engaging eyes.”

Even after her substitutingassignment, Santos could not stop thinking about Katelynn so she immediately clicked when a picture of Katelynn popped up on her Facebook news feed. The picture led her to a Facebook page called ‘Katelynn’s Kidney Journey’. Santos read the initial requirements listed by Katelynn’s parents for a donor and realized she was a fit. She immediately contacted Katelynn’s parents, and within an hour a donor coordinator was on the phone interviewing. After all the necessary tests and a month of waiting, it Santos that got the call that she was a perfect fit.

“There was no denying this was the right thing to do,” Santos, who lives less than a mile away from the Ernst family, told Berks-Mont News. So last December Santos donated her Kidney to five year old Katelynn. What was even more remarkable was that during the surgery doctors found out that Santos had a medical condition that was helped by the transplant surgery. Her selfless act ended up unexpectedly improving her own health as well as the child’s. “It’s incredible to be able to do it,” Santos told Berks-Mont News. “It’s surreal that she has one of my organs and she’s thriving on it.” Both Santos and Katelynn had a reunion on Valentine’s day healthy and happy.


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