A Missouri art teacher Misty Byrd was so touched when she got to know that the mother of her student needed a new kidney, that she offered hers without thinking even once.
Act of kindness
She dialed the lady’s number and offered hers and after the transplant, she developed a good friendship with her and is now working to find a kidney for a local father who is waiting on the transplant list.
Byrd, 41, has been working for the last 8 years at Wilder Elementary in Mansfield, where she taught fifth-grader Fisher Croney every year since he was in kindergarten and Fisher would always go out of his way to help in Byrd’s classroom whenever he had free time after recess.
Byrd knew Fisher’s mother, Shannon Croney, as an acquaintance who would occasionally cut her son’s hair and would chat at their boys’ baseball games. She was aware that Croney was having health problems but did not know the exact problem till she saw a Facebook post around Christmas of 2019.
Croney’s mother was trying to help her daughter find a kidney, and Byrd did not hesitate. “She was O negative, and I’m O negative. I don’t know; I didn’t really think about it. I just called her kidney coordinator and went from there,” Byrd said.
Croney, 43, found out that her kidneys were functioning at just 20% level in January 2019 after a routine blood test and she was in stage five renal failure. She went through a biopsy and a string of tests, and doctors couldn’t find out why her kidneys were failing, they began her dialysis. In March, she learned that Byrd was a match. Croney said they were such a close match that her doctors were surprised they were not related.
It was during that time that Croney’s transplant team at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital was getting concerned about the spread of Covid-19 cases in the area. Byrd was undergoing extensive testing for the transplant, and the pandemic put the process into a holding pattern. Byrd was cleared for surgery in June, and she claimed she was never nervous about the transplant. “Actually, I had a strong sense of peace, like I was doing what I was supposed to do,” she said. She compared the pain from the surgery to having a C-section.
Croney is now much better than she has been in a long time, Byrd said she is doing well but is feeling exhausted and tired as her remaining kidney grows and adapts. The women are now turning their attention to Jason Eagleston who is a single father of three who needs a kidney and lives half a mile away from the Croneys’ home. He said he was at the end-stage renal disease and has been on the transplant list for more than two years. He needs a donor with type O blood, either positive or negative and anyone who wants to donate can check out his Facebook Group.
Croney encourages anyone wanting to donate an organ, saying, “you’re giving up an organ, but people go on to live totally normal lives with just one. You’re saving somebody’s life. It’s an amazing gift to give to somebody. … There are hundreds of thousands of people out there waiting.”