Third-grade teacher Erin Durga's dad, who is also a teacher, once gave her a piece of advice: Befriend the school custodians because they are the heart of the school. But when custodian Pat Mertens needed something it wasn't a heart — it was a kidney.
Too proud to ask for help on his own, his daughter pleaded on Facebook for someone to donate a kidney and "help save a life."
Durga saw the post and told her husband she planned on donating a kidney.
"About 30 seconds into reading this, I turn to my husband, and I said, Pat needs a kidney, it needs to be O-type blood, and I think it's going to be me," she said.
She was right. Durga was a match.
"There were tears and there were hugs and it was beautiful," Durga said.
Mertens received the kidney transplant in July, which was a success. Both Mertens and Durga were healthy enough to return to work in August.
With the donation, Mertens said he now has his life back.
"I don't know how I can ever thank you," Mertens said.
"I feel somewhat embarrassed almost every time he says that," Durga said, adding that she didn't donate her kidney for the praise.