Third-grade teacher Erin Durga got chills when she learned of someone in her school that needed help.
Durga and school custodian 64-year-old Pat Mertens work at Kimball Elementary School in Minnesota. They both started at the school the same year in 2011. For the past several years, their families paths have always crossed. Durga's children even call Mertens "Papa" after growing up in his wife's daycare.
Mertens was on dialysis and the school community was well aware, as he left the school for treatment three days a week. The school even organized a "Hats for Pat" fundraiser on January 31 to help pay for his transportations to dialysis. Things turned more severe when his daughter Kayla Matten posted a plea for a kidney donor to social media.
Durga saw the post and without hesitation decided she would be the one to help. She told CNN, "I'd been wanting for a while to do something big for someone. I just didn't know what it was going to be. When I read the post from his daughter, I just got chills. I had a feeling it was going to be my something. I knew from that moment that I was going to be a match."
After delays due to the coronavirus, Durga found out she and Mertens were a match. The transplant surgery took place on July 3. Today, both patients have recovered and have returned to work at the school.
Mertens said of Durga to CNN, "All we can say is that she's an angel."