Friday, January 21, 2011

Story of hope: Teacher gets kidney from co-worker's wife

What a wonderful, inspiring story from one of the KIPPs in San Antonio!

Story of hope: Teacher gets kidney from co-worker's wife

by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

Posted on January 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- For the hundreds of South Texans waiting for a kidney transplant, this is a story of hope. An extraordinary act of kindness means one San Antonio teacher is getting a chance at a more normal life.

Jose Barrientos teaches 6th grade science at the KIPP Academy. Uncontrolled high blood pressure led to kidney failure for Barrientos, who's been on the transplant list for three years. He endures dialysis three times a week for four hours at a time just to survive.


"It's depressing," Barrientos admitted. "To depend on a machine to live? It's hard."


In a classroom next to Barrientos, Brad Tarrance teaches 7th grade reading. At a party last summer, when Tarrance and his wife met Barrientos for the first time, Lindsay Tarrance noticed the fistula in Barrientos' arm and asked how she could help. Five months later, this selfless wife of a co-worker is poised to become Barrientos' kidney donor.


"I wasn't expecting that," Barrientos said. "It was just, you know, an angel. Why we crossed paths? Maybe this was the reason."


"To have a 23-year-old Italian girl match up with a 30-something Hispanic male, it was unique, I'd say," Brad Tarrance said.


The operation takes place on Wednesday. Lindsay Tarrance's mother died while waiting for an organ transplant. That's why her husband believes she's such a willing donor.


"And so when I get up in the morning I can say 'you know what? My wife is doing this. I've got to work hard today,'" Brad Tarrance commented.


Incredibly, Barrientos can return to work in four to six weeks. "There's not words to describe how I feel," he stated.


The Tarrances will have to put off their plans to start a family for about a year. They say it's worth it to change Barrientos' life.

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