Teacher donates kidney to first-grader

Teacher donates kidney to first-grader

Wisconsin first grader Natasha Fuller will no longer be in renal failure thanks to her teacher Jodi Schmidt, who is donating one of her kidneys to the girl.

“It truly just came to me after I did a lot of thinking and praying,” Schmidt said. She called her husband. “I told him, ‘Rich, I want to give a student one of my kidneys’.”

Although Natasha has been waiting for a kidney donor for years, infections have repeatedly  bumped her off the wait list.

The 8-year-old was born with prune belly syndrome which has caused complications leading to a need for regular kidney dialysis. Natasha has spent the last two years living with her grandparents, Chris and Mark Burleton, in order to be closer to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for specialized care, but her condition had worsened.

After undergoing medical tests to confirm that her kidney was a match, Schmidt met with the school’s principal to come up with a special way to tell Natasha’s grandmother her plan.

“We gave her a gift box, and under the tissue paper was a card with the words: ‘It’s a match,’ ” Schmidt said.

Doyle took a video of Natasha’s grandmother opening the box.

“I just lost it,” Chris Burleton said. “You could never tell this little girl has three tubes in her, she doesn’t let it faze her. She is happy and sassy, and she just wants to lead a normal life, and do things like go swimming.”

Later, everyone cried when Doyle showed the video in a staff meeting.

“Jodi is extremely passionate, full of life and energy, and does everything 150%, ” Doyle said. “She told me that she knows she is here to do more. She is always looking for ways to serve others.”

Natasha currently has an infection, but if she recovers from it by March 21st, a date for the transplant will be established.

Tattoo apprentice turns scars into art

Tattoo apprentice turns scars into art

Whitney Develle, a young Australian woman, is offering free tattoos to those desiring to conceal scars. Develle developed the idea after a friend showed her scars from previous self harm.

“She told me how much pain it brought her when people would question her about them or make comments,” Ms Develle said. “No one should ever have to feel like a public museum for people to ridicule.”

Develle offered to tattoo over the scars, to which her friend agreed. “(Afterwards) people were asking about her tattoo. The scars became irrelevant—a thing of the past.”

After this experience, Develle posted on social media a pledge of one or two days a week to giving free tattoos to those desiring to cover old scars. The post received thousands of likes and shares, and due to this overwhelming response, Develle amended the original post, offering 50 free sittings total, with discounted tattoos for all other interested individuals.

Develle said the response was “humbling but also heartbreaking.”

“I have been up late most nights with a close friend replying to each and every person,” she said.

The majority of those who responded were individuals with past self-harm.
“There are grandparents, mothers and fathers, young adults who have moved beyond their days of self-inflicted harm,” she said. “I want them to know that they no longer have to feel ashamed and that they no longer have to conceal their scars.”

She also wants to change societal attitudes about individuals who have self-inflicted harm. “Society looks [down at people with self-harm scars] and immediately thinks they are unstable or unfit to be amongst the rest of us,” she said. “I want to change that stigma.”

Leap day twins-rare day, rare birth

Leap day twins-rare day, rare birth

In a rare occurrence, identical twins Sofia and Isabella Walker were born on leap day. The twins were born at UC Davis Medical Center to parents Josefina and Gregory Walker of Stockton.

“We feel blessed,” Gregory said in a press release.

The rare leap year twins shared an amniotic sac while in the womb, and were delivered through cesearean secion at 32 weeks gestation. Sharing an amniotic sac while in the womb is a rare condition which affects only 1 percent of all twin pregnancies in the United States.

“The rarity of this particular type of twins is 1 in 40,000 to 1 in 65,000 births,” Gregory said. “We feel very special.”

West-coast couple marries mid-flight

West-coast couple marries mid-flight

Alaska Airlines flight attendant Kristy Stratton and her soul mate Jim Larsen were married on the same flight they met six years ago. The pair met while traveling from Los Angeles to Seattle.

“I was thinking of unique wedding ideas while driving home from a red-eye about a month before the wedding and thought it’d be a cool idea to get married on that exact flight,” Stratton said.

Kristy has been working as a flight attendant for 11 years, and with the airline’s blessing, planned all the details.

Confused passengers were given bubbles, chocolate roses, and candy hearts as they boarded. However, an hour into the flight, a stewardess gave some background information on the couple, rings were exchanged, and pilot wings pinned to each others shirts. The couple walked back down the aisle as passengers clapped and blew bubbles.

Celebrating with the passenger was the bride’s mother, Billie Jo Stratton. Billie Jo was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in 2014 had told Kristy that she wanted to see her wedding. Kristy’s love for traveling came from her mother. The two had been planning a mother-daughter trip to Italy, but had to cancel after Billie Jo’s diagnosis.

After witnessing her daughter’s wedding, Billie Jo was able to spend quality time with her daughter and new son-in-law in Seattle. The couple also held a wedding reception back on the ground the day after the wedding.

“My mom has been smiling for weeks — I love it,” Kristy Stratton said. “The wedding really lifted up her spirits and she even got to spend time with us in Seattle after, too.”

The wedding was a beautiful experience for all involved.

“I was really touched and overwhelmed by the amount of love and joy flooding through the cabin,” Kristy Stratton said. “Not only did they make the day even more special for me, but for my mom as well.”

Baby survives heart transplant moments after going into cardiac arrest

Baby survives heart transplant moments after going into cardiac arrest

Seven month old Lincoln Seay received a life-saving heart transplant minutes after going into cardiac arrest. The Alaskan boy was born with a rare defect which caused his organs to be on the opposite side of his body.

“They had even said he might not survive birth we really had no idea what to expect, so when he came out and he cried and he looked great we were elated,” said mother, Mindy Seay.

However, Lincoln’s condition worsened after birth, despite many surgeries, his heart began to fail. In a emergency decision, his parents flew him to Seattle Children’s Hospital for a heart transplant. Lincoln had been waiting for a heart for five months, but just as he was going into surgery, he went into cardiac arrest.

Despite these odds, Doctors were able to successfully perform a heart transplant.

“We were praying for a miracle and that moment in time it’s fair to say we got a miracle,” said father, Rob Seay. “Because the heart was en route, they went ahead and opened his chest and the surgeon reached in and hand compressed his heart until the new heart arrived.”

Lincoln’s parents hope his story helps encourage others to become organ donors.