When 4-year old Camden’s teacher saw he was going through something, she quickly sprang into action. There must have been something wrong, she reported, as there was clearly something wrong in the boy’s eyes. The teacher took responsibility, asked the boy to sit down, and initiated a talk with 4-year-old Camden to find out the cause behind his changed appearance.
When Camden eventually opened up and told the teacher what was ailing him, it took her a moment before processing the shock of what she had just heard. The boy was terrified of meeting his father… but why?
A Tough Decision
People choose to become teachers because they love it. They have a deep connection with children and want to help them grow up and become responsible and happy adults. Every teacher secretly wishes that their students would learn to trust them enough to communicate with them about their deepest problems.
Nancy is the kind of kindergarten teacher that loves her students and does whatever it takes to make sure that they feel safe and happy. The 54-year old was facing a tough situation. Would she do whatever it takes to help Camden?
Nancy noticed that the young boy had become very distant and quiet lately and she had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. The boy was usually very focused, outgoing and playful, but now he seemed distracted and would not play with the other kids as he once did.
What caused Nancy even more concern, was that Camden now spent most of his time alone. She knew something was wrong, but what could it be?
Time to Listen
Nancy had made up her mind, she was going to help the boy. Whatever the problem may be, and whatever it took to help him - she was going to do it.
Nancy sat Camden down to hear him out in order to find out what the source of his recent troubled behavior was. By the end of their talk, she knew the boy had problems at home, and she was going to find out exactly what was going on.
The Burning Question
After her conversation with Camden, Nancy picked herself up and left to a quiet place where she could be alone. She looked through the school records and found the phone number of the little boy’s father. The brave teacher pulled out her phone, took a deep breath, and called Camden’s father.
Nancy knew from the start that this was not going to be an easy call to make. But what she also knew, was that somebody had to do it, and she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from doing what was right. The teacher proceeded to ask him a question that shocked him so much, she had to ask it twice before he could respond.
Taken By Surprise
When Camden’s father, Darreld, looked at his phone and saw his son’s teacher calling, he felt his stomach tense up and the adrenaline rushing through him. “What was wrong?” he thought. “Did something happen to Camden?”.
He picked up his phone and answered, worried. But when Nancy told him the reason she called him, he was completely taken by surprise. Darreld never thought Camden would tell anyone his secret. He knew she was onto him. But then, Nancy asked him a question.
The Decisive Question
It took Nancy everything she had to make that call. She doubted herself, thinking she may have crossed a line. But no matter how much she debated it with herself, seeing Camden’s face, she knew that it was the right thing to do.
The teacher thought long and hard about how to phrase her question, since she didn’t want to upset Darreld. It took a great deal of courage, but when she finally heard his answer, she knew exactly what she needed to do, and there was no time to waste now.
When Nancy asked Camden what was making him feel so upset, she never expected that his problems would be this big. The little boy told Nancy that strangers in uniforms had come to visit his home more than once in the last few weeks.
He was terrified that something would happen to his father, that his dad would be taken away again. Nancy wanted to make it OK, to make it so that Camden wouldn’t be afraid anymore, but how could a kindergarten teacher help?
While Nancy knew that it wasn’t her role to step this far into her student’s life, her experience taught her that situations like this could get worse, much worse. She had seen enough kids going through a crisis to know that you have to take care of what it is before it escalates.
Poor Camden was completely terrified and confused. He didn’t know what was happening, or what to do. The 4-year old felt in the dark about his family’s fate, and had no idea what was going on in his house.
A Sacred Oath
The young student looked up to Nancy. He trusted her and knew that she could make everything alright. When he confided in her, she swore to him that she would do anything she possibly could in order to make it right, no matter the cost.
Now, it was time for her to make a decision.
No Going Back
Nancy’s instincts told her exactly what needed to be done, but she had to make sure she was absolutely certain. Camden’s teacher was determined to give him the life he deserved, but she knew this would be one of the toughest decisions she’d ever make.
Nobody thought it would go this far, that it would get to this. Especially not Camden’s father.
When school was out, Nancy took her belongings and quickly rushed to the hospital to fill out the required documents.
She was quickly rushed to a psychologist for testing. Her mental state had to be absolutely sound. A very hard road was just around the corner, waiting for her.
Time to Act
After rigorous tests, it was found that Nancy’s psychological state was good, and that her body was ready. After all, she was facing an extremely challenging time.
The tests proved that Nancy could help Camden; nothing else mattered to her, she knew that she was the only one who could.
What Nancy discovered, was that Camden’s father, Darreld Petersen, was in very bad health. He was suffering from kidney failure. In fact, his kidneys were only operating at 20% of their capacity. The future looked very bleak and his odds of surviving were not high.
When he began to get dialysis treatments, the situation only appeared worse, his skin was pale and his hair began to fall out. Camden was mortified by seeing his father slowly dying. That was when Nancy decided to do something absolutely incredible.
A Selfless Sacrifice
A regular teacher might have offered to babysit Camden or help him with his studying, but this was no ordinary woman. Nancy knew how badly Camden was affected by this.
She knew what she had to do. It was all or nothing. Nancy bravely decided she was going to help by solving this problem once and for all.
Like a Miracle
After Nancy asked Darreld the important question, she knew what she had to do. The teacher got all the required tests done and signed the mandatory paperwork. Everything was cleared. She could finally help Darreld’s family get over this situation.
When she next saw Camden’s father, she made him an extraordinary offer. The reason she could make that offer was because, as unlikely as it was, the two were a perfect match.
Darreld told Nancy that a few friends had already tried offering their kidneys for the surgery, but nothing seemed to work out, either because of a medical reason or due to other issues.
Days before the kidney transplant surgery, Camden’s family visited Nancy at the kindergarten with flowers and many “Thank You” letters. They were completely shocked that someone would volunteer themselves and sacrifice like that for a stranger.
While Nancy was being interviewed by various local and international media stations for her brave and selfless act, Darreld was having second thoughts about the procedure. He knew that there were risks involved, but Nancy was adamant that she was going to do it no matter what.
A few days later, the day of the surgery arrived. Nancy said goodbye to her loved ones and was sent off to the operating room.
Only the Best
As the nerve-wracking hours went by, attending nurses and surgeons gathered around Darreld and Nancy, who were lying in adjacent operating beds. The medical staff comforted them and their families, explaining that they were in the best hands the state has to offer. Both Nancy and Darreld could tell that these people really wanted to be there for them.
This was no mere statement, she was being operated on by Alan Reed, MD; Zoe Stewart Lewis, MD, Ph.D.; and Daniel Katz, MD. These were all of Iowa’s best transplant surgeons, and they were not going to let anything get in the way of a successful operation. But was the transplant a success?
As the surgery ended, Nancy and Darreld’s families were waiting in nervous anticipation for the results. A few hours later, both patients woke up from their sleep, in great health, and with no complications. The transplant was a success!
Darreld’s family told Nancy that from that day on, she was like family to them. They confided in her and promised to always be there for her no matter what. Everyone was so happy, especially young Camden. This was a true miracle.
Camden was the happiest kid in the world that day. The boy saw his father’s life saved, and Nancy, his hero, saving the day for everyone. The happy 4-year old promised Nancy that from this day forward, he would be the best student she had ever had!
The family was so grateful, and everyone wanted to celebrate. But they knew that there were still very important things they had to do.
Inspired by the success of the transplant, both Darreld and Nancy were now set on a mission to educate the world about the importance of donations and transplants for saving lives. The duo tried to get as much attention as possible to the University of Iowa Transplant Center Team.
Thankfully, the story was so motivating and inspiring, that the media was glad to help the two get their message out to the world.
This was not the first time that Nancy had encountered a successful transplant. Years ago, one of her co-workers had donated a kidney to help a fellow church member who was in dire straits.
“The surgery was a great success...” Nancy told the media, “I was so inspired. It changed me. When Camden told me about Darreld’s condition, I knew immediately what the right thing to do was.”
One in a Thousand
Nancy told the media how excited she was when the doctors told her that her kidney was a match for Darreld. “I was so happy”. She said. “There wasn’t any fear, just a relief that I can help them. I remember being terrified that it wouldn’t be a match. That would have been devastating for me. I’m so happy everything turned out well.”
But what does Darreld say about the teacher who saved his life?
Part of the Family
“I’m so incredibly happy,” Darreld told the media, “this was a life-changing experience. I thank Nancy everyday… She’s family to me now. No matter what. We also told the hospital staff a million times just how grateful we are for everything. I hope they feel the same… I have no idea how to thank someone for saving your life,” Darreld said, “It’s like they’re a part of you forever. I can’t really explain it”.
It is hard to explain, as there’s nothing ordinary about Nancy. She’s truly a hero. A teacher’s job is to always be prepared for situations and do whatever it takes to handle them. Our next teacher is no exception. It was a regular school day and Mrs. Nabors was searching for her students’ backpacks. But nothing could have prepared her or the class for what she actually found.
Mrs. Nabors was busy teaching her class, until she finally remembered her duty to search the entire classes’ backpacks every morning.
The diligent teacher found all the normal things: pencils, notebooks, breakfast and occasional snacks. Everything was going just as usual. But then, in the corner of her eye, she saw one of her students acting as if he were very nervous.
Being on the Safe Side
Bag checks have become a normal and necessary reality in the past decade. In today’s climate, students face many dangers. Starting with their distracting phones, up to dangerous narcotics that bad influences try to spread around.
Students, teachers, and the security staff are much more prepared and alert today compared to even a decade ago, but there’s no need to worry about our young students, right?
Unfortunately, due to today’s climate, age isn’t really taken as a factor both in inspecting and suspecting students as potential criminals. This obviously makes many parents and teachers very uncomfortable.
The two main concerns parents are fretting about nowadays are, firstly, “Is my child safe in school?” and secondly, “Can this cause my kid to lose his innocence?”
A Reason to be Suspicious
While nobody can truly say whether a student caught with dangerous objects in his backpack is innocent or not, it’s clear that the inspections must be done for everyone’s sake.
Kids don’t always realize the consequences of their actions, and might accidentally bring an object that could hurt other children or school faculty. Whether it being by something sharp, allergy-inducing, or one of many other potentially threatening reasons.
Most schools have adapted to today’s climate with more strict security requirements and inspections. Everyone is more alert and new procedures have been implemented. Jefferson Elementary School in Jefferson County, Georgia, was no different in that regard.
On most days, teachers simply go through the students’ backpacks, finding the mundane things that you’d expect to find in a school bag. But today, for Mrs. Nabors, this was not going to be an ordinary school day.
Meet Mrs. Nabors
Mrs. Bobbie Nabors teaches students in the second grade at Jefferson Elementary School. She’s very dedicated and makes sure to take care of all her students.
As a responsible teacher, she makes sure to follow protocol and search her second-grade students’ bags and backpacks every morning. She usually doesn’t give it too much attention, since these are just young kids. But today, something was going to spike her full attention.
That morning, her class was highly energetic and distracted. Today was going to be a book fair day, and all the students were extremely excited about it. Jefferson Elementary School hosts these events annually, and kids always have a great time, which is what caused all the excitement and ruckus.
With all that chaos, Mrs. Nabors forgot to check her students’ bags, which she would come to regret very soon.
Finally Some Focus
It took a while to get such an excited class to calm down and focus on their day’s studies. But eventually, everyone did calm down and began studying. When Mrs. Nabors recalled that she had completely forgotten to check her students’ backpacks, she was initially reluctant to do so.
“What would these 8-year-olds hide in there? A gaming console?”, she humorously thought to herself. Regardless of her lack of motivation, she started checking the bags one by one.
The Bag is Alive
When Mrs. Nabors saw the nervous student, she immediately noticed there was something very odd about his backpack - it was moving on its own.
The teacher rushed to her student’s seemingly animate bag and opened it to discover something she would have never suspected.
The Bag Has Eyes
As Mrs. Nabors was opening the mysterious bag, she suddenly saw a pair of the cutest little eyes looking directly at her. When the bag was fully opened, she saw a little brown puppy in the student’s bag.
Normally, this would be a very problematic situation and the student would have to deal with a punishment of some sort. Obviously, animals are not allowed in school because of their risk of serious medical damage to students who have allergies. However, much to the class’s surprise, Mrs. Nabors decided she was going to make a special exception to the rule in this case.
The puppy was a huge surprise to the entire classroom. As student after student began looking away from their notebooks and seeing the tiny furry creature, the students couldn’t wait to have a chance to pet it. Mrs. Nabors began passing from student to student with the puppy in her hands. Everyone loved to pet it and the cute little creature quickly became a class favorite.
The teacher considered punishing her student for bringing the puppy to school, but she couldn’t blame a kid for having difficulties leaving his trusty pet at home. But there was one more thing she had to take care of.
An Important Question
The teacher sat down with the student whose puppy was found in his bag. “How did the puppy get in your bag?”, she asked the nervous student. The student’s reply made her laugh out loud, “My Mom must have put it there!”.
As fun as it was to play with the puppy, it was eventually time to go home.
The Day’s End
Despite being the star of the day, unfortunately, the puppy, whose name was Jake, eventually had to go home to reunite with his loving family, food, water, and bed. At the end of the day, Mrs. Nabors called the student’s Mother and asked her to come pick up her little girl and their family dog.
But before she let the class go, there was one last surprise the second-grade teacher had for her class.
Paws For a Good Book
Since every school needs a good mascot, and because of Jake’s overwhelming popularity among the class that day, Mrs. Nabors decided to honor the puppy at the school book fair and clowned him ‘the book fair mascot’!
She even came up with a clever slogan, “Paws for a Good Book”. As you can guess, the children were thrilled!
Since Jake’s time in school, there has been a new dog on campus. Her name is Dorothy and she’s a service dog to one of the students.
Although Jake loved the attention he was getting, it seemed the puppy didn’t mind sharing it with his dog friend. He, and only he, was the school book fair mascot, after all.