Teacher donates kidney to 15-year-old student with genetic condition

A geometry teacher at Whitmer High School donated a kidney to one of his students who was in need.
Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 1:56 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG/Gray News) - A high school geometry teacher in Ohio donated a kidney to a 15-year-old student in need after seeing the teen and his family on the news.

Roman McCormick and his family first appeared on 13 Action News in February when they were desperately searching for a kidney donor to keep him from going on dialysis. The 15-year-old needed a new kidney as a result of Bor Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes kidney malformation.

“You feel helpless because you know you can’t do anything, and you have to depend on donors,” said Roman’s mom, Jamie Redd.

The family asked people to get tested to see if they could be a match.

That same night, Eddie McCarthy, Roman’s geometry teacher at Whitmer High School in Toledo, was watching the news.

“I saw Roman on the news in February and saw that he needed a kidney. So, then, the next day, I went and got tested,” McCarthy said. “I wasn’t even sure what my blood type was.”

After five months of testing, McCarthy found out he was a perfect match. He and Roman’s family spoke to 13 Action News when the surgery was just one week away.

“I’m just really excited to be able to do this. I’m really excited for Roman and for the rest of his life,” McCarthy said.

The teacher added the best part so far is finally getting to tell the family.

“When he called me, I was like, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ I was so glad it was someone who knew Roman and knew his story and knew his personality and knew how deserving he was,” Redd said.

The donation is a relief for Roman’s parents. His father says he hopes the 15-year-old will be able to play soccer again, a hobby he gave up four years ago.

“For him to say, ‘I’m just too tired to do this anymore,’ it was just heartbreaking,” said Dan McCormick, Roman’s dad. “I just want him to be able to experience what every other 15-year-old experiences, get his energy back, be able to go out and just do normal things again.”

Roman also said he was excited for the surgery and hopes to be running around on the soccer field soon.

The school district, Washington Local Schools, posted Wednesday on Facebook, saying the surgery was successful for both McCarthy and Roman.