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6-year-old receives life-saving kidney donation thanks to preschool teacher, voucher program

Minnesota girl gets life-saving kidney donation thanks to her teacher
Minnesota girl gets life-saving kidney donation thanks to her teacher 02:36

FAIRMONT, Minn. — What started as a typical checkup ended with a devastating diagnosis for a young Fairmont girl. Her kidneys were failing at just 4 years old. 

But then, that little girl got a generous, life-saving gift from her preschool teacher.

From playing in the mud to spending time with her big sister, Parker Lintelman is full of life.

"Tons of energy, always running around, singing," said her father Seth.

Around her fourth birthday, her parents and teachers noticed something may be wrong.

"She was putting things in her mouth that shouldn't be in her mouth. Dirt, Play-Doh, things 4-year-olds tend to play with," said her mom Elizabeth.

After more tests, she was diagnosed with stage 4 chronic kidney disease. Doctors told the family she would eventually need a transplant.

"We just assumed that one of us would be able to donate directly to her being that she's our child, and that's not what happened. I'm A blood type, he's B and she's O," Elizabeth said.

They turned to the community to ask for help. Parker's preschool teacher, Kim Miller, answered the call.

"Me having children, me caring for children all day long, I wanted to help," Miller said.  

Parker Lintelman and Kim Miller Kim Miller

Miller ended up not being a match for Parker. But through the National Kidney Registry Voucher Program, she donated her kidney to a stranger to boost Parker to the top of the list.

"Kim is absolutely an incredible human, and we're so blessed to have her in our life. She is truly one of a kind," Elizabeth said.

They waited more than four months for Parker to find a match. A few days before her sixth birthday, they received the best gift ever — Parker had a match.

"This is where I get to see what I did actually come to life," Miller said. "Me donating, it was fine, and then going on with my life was fine, but now we're to the point where this is what I did it for."

"Her one action not only changed Parker's life, but also started a chain reaction across the country that's helped several people live longer, healthier lives," Elizabeth said.

Parker will have her transplant surgery this Thursday. Her kidney is coming from a donor in San Diego, while Miller's kidney went to someone in San Francisco.

"This is one of the specialist things because it keeps me better in life," Parker said.

There will be a fundraiser to help Parker's family with medical bills on Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Buddy Boy Fine Barbeque in Minnetrista.

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