Teacher to donate kidney to 4-year-old student

Posted October 13, 2016

MADISON, Wisconsin — Teachers often make a lasting impact on their students, but one woman’s gift to a child at her school will stay with the little girl for her entire life.

Four-year-old Lyla Carreyn doesn’t get to live the life most kids her age have. She spends 12 hours a day on dialysis, battling a rare, life-threatening autoimmune disorder that has caused inflamed blood vessels to damage her kidneys, Today reported.

Lyla’s mother, Dena, has been watching her daughter suffer since her diagnosis last year. Lyla needed a new kidney, and she needed it fast.

“We were starting to feel desperate,” Dena Carreyn told Today.

Enter Beth Battista, a teacher at Kids Express Learning Center where Lyla goes to school. Battista heard of Lyla’s plight and couldn’t shake the feeling that she needed to help.

“There was just something inside that told me to get tested,” she told Today. “I just knew that I was going to be her match. It was meant to be.”

Sure enough, doctors informed the 36-year-old mother of two that she was indeed the match Lyla and her family had waited so long to find. After getting the go ahead from her husband, Battista decided to surprise Dena Carreyn with the news she’d been praying for.

Battista called her in for a meeting, telling her she needed help bringing a new teacher up to speed about Lyla’s condition. When Dena Carreyn sat down, Battista handed her a card that read, “I may just be her teacher now, but soon a little piece of me will be with Lyla forever. I’m Lyla’s kidney donor.”

Battista’s co-workers filmed Dena Carreyn’s reaction, and the emotional video has been viewed more than 673,000 times on Facebook.

“Looking back on it now, the whole thing is surreal,” Dena Carreyn told Today. “It took a minute to sink in, and once it did, I was just so overwhelmed. I felt very similar to the day when my daughter was born because it was that sense of elation and being so excited and relieved.”

The surgery is scheduled for early 2017. Battista said she’s grateful for this opportunity to help a family and spread the word about living organ donation.

“When we got to the meeting, I was shaking,” Battista said. “I get choked up just talking about it. It was so powerful to be able to tell her that I’m the answer.”

To Carreyn and her daughter, Battista has become so much more than just a teacher.

“Beth is and always will be a part of our family,” she told Today. “A piece of her, literally and figuratively, will always be with us.”

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.


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