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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A JCPS teacher is stepping away from the classroom for about a month. What she's doing offers students a lesson they may never forget.
As Buffy Sexton prepared her class at Meyzeek Middle School for an exam, in the back of her mind she was considering the big test coming her way: "I just know how much of a difference it's going to make in their lives," she said.
Sexton is giving one of her kidneys to a man she doesn't even know. The man about to receive the kidney, John Desmond, says, "I could win $100 million in the lottery today -- I would give it all to her and it still would not be enough."
Twelve months ago, Desmond came down with bacterial meningitis: "I had to learn to walk again," he says, "I had to learn to think again."
Desmond says kidney failure was a complication connected to the antibiotics doctors used to treat the illness. The father of six-year-old and 11-year-old children was fading -- enduring dialysis every other day.
Three of his siblings didn't match, so his wife Tina did something desperate: "I put a plea out to Facebook," she says.
Sexton saw the post shared by another friend -- it's a plea she still remembers to this day. She quotes it, "I'm looking for a living kidney donor for my husband. He's got to have a kidney and it just feels like the right thing to do."
Tina Desmond says, "I am so overwhelmed that someone would go through what she's gone through."
Sexton says it meant, "Lots of blood work...I had to have an MRI and a CAT scan."
After six months of testing, Sexton learned she's a perfect match. Surgery is set for Thursday. It will take the 7th grade science teacher out of the classroom for a month.
Ever the educator, she's turning the surgery into an assignment, saying, "The surgeon has agreed to video tape the whole thing and turn it into a lesson on the kidney."
Her students are learning about more than science: "To give with receiving nothing in return, it's like the coolest thing ever," Sexton says.
And John Desmond puts it this way: "My parents say she's my living angel for what she's doing for me."
Experts say 18 people will die today, waiting for an organ donor. That's 6,000 people each year.