Natasha Fuller, an Oakfield, Wis., first-grader, has been sick almost since she was born. For the last two years, she’s been living with her grandparents so she can get lifesaving treatment at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee.
She’s currently in renal failure and the girl is out of options; she needs a kidney transplant.
Fortunately, the world is full of first-grade teachers like Jodi Schmidt.
Schmidt told her boss she’d need to be out of work for eight weeks in order to donate one of her kidneys. Then the two called Fuller’s grandmother into the office.
“We gave her a gift box, and under the tissue paper was a card with the words: ‘It’s a match,’” Schmidt said.
Young Natasha, by the way, isn’t even one of Jodi’s students.
Federal law requires 12 weeks of paid leave for a medical condition, but it doesn’t include donors like Schmidt in the category. Wisconsin was the first state to allow residents to claim a tax deduction for the expenses of donating an organ.
Minnesota allows a leave for living organ donations, but only for people who are public employees. Like teachers, for example.
A former MPR colleague donated a kidney not long ago. He’s pushing lawmakers to change the rules here.
Related: For living organ donors, the cost of doing good (NewsCut)