Fayetteville Teacher Gives Student the Gift of Life
Posted December 13, 1999
FAYETTEVILLE — A Fayetteville eighth-grader had a kidney on his Christmas list, and he will get one, not from a family member, but from his teacher.
Max Abbott Middle Schoolscience teacher Jane Smith first met Michael Carter at the beginning of the school year.
She teased him about how big his pants were. He said it was from dialysis, and that is when she offered him one of her kidneys. "I looked at him and said, 'I got two, do you want one?'" Smith remembers.
After knowing Michael Carter just two weeks, an amazing offer from his science teacher will soon change his life.
The 42-year-old teacher's generosity is enabling the 14-year-old student to look ahead, instead of back at his difficult past.
The eighth-grader has had 16 surgeries and for the last year and a half, he has had dialysis three times a week.
"I never thought I'd get one, but when I saw her face, I knew she was a caring person and would give it to me," he says.
"I've worked with some incredible people in my life that taught me about character, courage and responsibility. I want Michael to have the wonderful life I've had," Smith says.
Now, he and his classmates are learning a lesson in life from a 20-year educator and from the Carolina Organ Procurement Agency. They are learning the meaning of giving.
Michael's mother is overwhelmed. "I've never had someone reach out as far as she did," she says.
The transplant will take place Friday at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.
Both Michael and his teacher hope to return to school soon after Christmas break.