Laura is a hero everyday.

She is a Math teacher.

The kind of teacher I hated in school; the kind that wanted me to learn and be better despite me not wanting to. The kind that calls your parents when you don’t do your homework. The kind who cares so much, she’ll get on you to be better even if your parents don’t really care. She’s the teacher you remember. She’s the teacher you see who always has a stack of papers that she’s grading everywhere she goes. Everyday.

But today was different.

Today was not quite real. Today she was donating her kidney to help a total stranger. She was having five holes cut into her body and one of her organs removed, to help somebody she never knew, and would never meet. Because they needed help. Her start to this day began many months ago. She found out a family member needed a kidney and went to see if she was a match. She wasn’t. But this didn’t stop her. By donating her kidney, she could dedicate it on her person of choice and help them to get a kidney, AND help another person. “I can help TWO people!!, count me in.”

5am New York City.

This is a day beginning.

As we walked from our hotel the hospital on what was to be the coldest day of the season, our mood was one of anticipation, excitement, anxiety and trust. Trust that we were in good hands, trust that this was a good thing. Trust that it would be alright. The pre dawn wind whipped down the empty streets of a city about to shift gears. We are blessed with the confidence of knowing that we can take on anything for we have such love and support for each other and  loving family and friend groups that marching into the unknown with confidence helps to ease the sting of fear of anticipation the unknown.

The surgical waiting room at the hospital is huge. As the staff is prepping the surgical floor for the flurry of surgeries for the day, the energy in the waiting room is tense. All manor of surgeries start with waiting for your name to be called.  One by one the patients are removed through the double doors and the waiting begins. As I waited in the corner by the window, removed from people as I tend to do, my mind drifted to the “what-ifs”… my mind drifted deeper and deeper down a river of worry. The faces, all the faces waiting in the room tell of worry, and its contagious. I photographed the sunrise reflecting off the mirrored sky scrappers to keep my mind afloat, but still I wandered toward sorrow and fear. Then like a ray of sunshine my niece came in to sit with me and wait for Lauras name to be called out. We talked for hours which helped keep my thoughts afloat. One by one  a name would be called out from “the doors” and the waiting room thinned. The nurses behind the desk went from a tornado of activity to staring at their phones. We too retreated from conversation and tuned into our devices.


It was after lunch and almost everyone was gone. Just the long haul serious surgeries still underway.

There was a women siting next to us, alone, and looking quite worried, yet her eyes spoke of hope. She leaned in and quietly spoke.

“Excuse me, are you by any chance her for a kidney also?”

“Yes” I said, “my wife is donating her kidney…”

“My husband is receiving a kidney…… Do you think??” “Maybe?” She said.

The hospital policy is to not tell or communicate who is donating and who is receiving, but we did know that her kidney was immediately going into a recipient.

She told us of their story. They had a six year old son at home.  Her husbands kidneys were rapidly loosing function and he was fast approaching dialysis. Their son, on his birthday, wanted no presents, only that his dad could get better and play with him again. On her husbands birthday a few weeks ago, the phone rang and it said the call was from his doctor. “Oh great, what a birthday present, they’re calling for me to start dialysis…” He picked up the phone and his face changed…..”They have a match!” He said. “ They have a match!!!” The boys prayers had been answered.  He was getting his dad back.

We exchanged numbers and agreed to ask our doctors if we could find out if it were true.

Lauras name was called and I too got my chance to take a deep breath and walk through the doors, leaving the waiting room behind.

I found her in post surgical recovery. She had her eyes shut and was heavily sedated and appeared to be completely out of it. When our first born son was an infant, and breastfeeding, he would pinch her hand between her thumb and forefinger three times , pause, then three times and would always do this… we concluded that the three pinches meant “I -love -you”.

I pinched her three times between her thumb and forefinger and her eyebrows acknowledged it. I knew she was there.

I wasn’t allowed to see her again until she was fully conscious and in her assigned room.

She lit up when I was finally allowed in to see her, despite the severe nausea form the anesthesia. It wasn’t until the next morning that she was clear and we spoke about my chance encounter with her possible new kidney owner. She agreed and wanted to know. We asked the doctor….

He said “No”.

They asked their doctor….

He said “No”…

We texted each other and both were frustrated.  They both had a rough first day, so we took care of our loved ones.

Laura had a unique deformity, she had a rare additional artery, I asked our new friend and …he had the same rare additional artery AND the same blood type. Now we didn’t need the doctors to tell us.

The Math told us.

It was time for Laura to try to walk.

The occupational therapist helped her up and suggested that Laura walked down the hall … a little bit.

Now the therapists didn’t know Laura.

Laura is a Mountain Biker, A Motorcyclist and a Sailer. She is a kickboxer. She has unbridled determination.  Just a month before this, she was in a Motorcycle crash where a deer jumped in front of her at 6am on her way to work and she crashed and slid over 150 feet on the asphalt. She was dancing the following night. Two years ago, she crashed on her mountain bike, and the brake lever punctured her bicep and cut her ulnar nerve in half, leaving her arm with no feeling on the outside… after a painful nerve surgery and rehab, she has regained much of that feeling back. The damaged nerve constantly signaled her brain that there was enormous pressure on her hand, like a school bus was parked on it. And ….it was on fire. Now this was not the case but to her brain, it was real pain. But she endured and carried on.


Walking down the hallway was never going to be it. She asked where his room was and if it was ok if we could make it to the other side of the hospital floor. I asked our new friend if it was alright if we could make it there, if they would like to meet her…. They couldn’t wait to meet her.

Laura had no idea of what was about to happen. She thought it would be kind of cool to say hi.

I knew something heavy was about to go down and had my camera in video mode. Nobody was ready for the moment. It was one of the most beautiful and spiritual moments of humanity and love that I had ever been apart of. In that moment, to love, to be human, to be caring, to allow one to help, to share, to exist together on this blue speck drifting in space….it was all there and we were a part of it. Just pure beauty. For a moment, what a moment, we were all one.

Needless to say, they were exhausted and both went back to healing. Laura took a well earned nap. One of many as everything was exhausting as she healed. I posted my video on line and sent it to our friends and family. This was the week before Christmas and the world was in a depressing state of affairs. Almost all the news was of war, and political struggles, and cooperate gains…. And starving mouths. People with no hope. Lots of darkness but this light was so bright. This light of humanity was so needed. Lauras friend suggested I send it to the “good news network” and I said sure, but can you do it. She sent me a link and I saw it had two thousand views. “Wow” I thought, all she wants is to inspire more people to donate and help others…. Two thousand people, maybe one will step up  and make a difference in someone’s life.

I shut off my phone and fell asleep watching night in New York City.

The next morning her friend texted me… twenty thousand views. Whoa, twenty thousand?? That’s crazy. I opened up my phone to look and it said 50,000! I couldn’t wait to show Laura.

When I got to the hospital, I told her and she said “I hope others will do this”, I opened my phone to show her the video and it was up to 100,000 views. A friend from Colombia reached out after seeing the video and asked how she could donate. We’ll never know how this will have an outcome on convincing people to donate, but as of now, one million seven hundred thousand have viewed this moment. And its been released in other countries in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Maybe more, I don’t know.

This was weeks ago. He is doing better everyday and looks forward to getting his health back and playing with his son again.

We talk all the time and feel like we have a New family.

Laura is back to teaching and getting stronger everyday. In a month we are going Mountain Biking in Florida at our favorite trail system called “Santos”

Be like Laura. We need more “Lauras”