It wasn’t Physical Education that had children at Barrow Elementary walking around the track in circles. The miniature Kidney Walk was in honor of 2nd grade teacher Nicole O who received a kidney transplant in 2013.
“A lot of the kids wanted to do something to show they care,” said Barrow Elementary teacher Tracey H. “Everybody at school loves Nicole, and this is a good way for kids to learn about their kidneys and show their support.”
Nicole, who lives outside of Brazoria, TX underwent the kidney transplant operation in 2013 after her kidneys failed due to a genetic kidney disease. In order to get the kidney, her husband, Eric, participated in a three-way kidney swap with other individuals in California and Missouri.
“Everything fell into place perfectly,” said Nicole of the procedure. “I felt so good afterwards that I was ready to go to work the next day.”
Now that both Eric and Nicole have fully recovered, the transplant has given Nicole the opportunity to participate in research studies that could help other transplant patients. It has also revealed to her just how widespread kidney disease is in her community.
“Since this happened, I’ve talked to a lot of people and realized that kidney disease is more common than I ever thought,” Nicole said. “I have friends who have relatives going through dialysis, you just don’t hear about it every day.”
Nicole is taking her story of hope to the Kidney Walk to support others with kidney disease and fund kidney disease research. She is honored that her co-workers and students have also stepped up for the cause, raising over $3,000 for the National Kidney Foundation.
“The school, students and everyone have been amazing and so supportive,” she said. “It’s been such a remarkable experience.”