Student's mom is on the mend months after teacher donated a kidney

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- A good teacher will do almost anything for a student, but few have gone so far as Donna Hoagland, a teacher at Marsh Pointe Elementary in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. As CBS News first reported a few months ago, it all started when Donna noticed a change in one of her fourth graders, Troy Volk.

"It did affect his morning behavior. And he was just shut down at times," she said.

She suspected something was going on, so she asked Troy's mother, Anahita, if something had changed at home. She told Donna the truth: that she was in stage 5 kidney failure.

She had this severe pain almost daily, and because she has a rare blood type, the odds of finding a kidney donor were slim.

"When my parents told me about the kidney failing stuff, I was getting a little down," Troy said.

Troy tried to keep a brave front. Fortunately, he found a friend in Donna, who was there every step of the way.

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Donna Hoagland, left, with her student Troy Volk

CBS News

"To think what he must go through seeing his mom being sick all the time, it's not fair," Donna said.  

Turns out Donna has the same rare blood type. So, unbeknownst to Troy's family, she spent months researching how to become a kidney donor, and then called up Anahita for the best parent-teacher conference of all time.

"I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' She turns around and she's like, 'We're a match,'" Anahita said.

The transplant happened last Christmas, and today, everyone is doing well. In fact, Anahita recently went swimming and camping with her son -- things she could have never done before.  

"The one thing I love about my mom's kidney transplant, is that we all get a gift, the same gift. It's not a gift that can be wrapped in a present. It's like a miracle. A perfect match is a miracle," Troy said.

Of course the other miracle is Donna and teachers like her who love our children as their own.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.