By Tom McKay
A good teacher can leave their charges with the education needed to build a better future for themselves and others. But in Detroit, one gym teacher has left a student with something just as precious: a brand new kidney.
Associated Press reports that West Side Academy gym teacher Nadirah Muhammad, 39, donated a kidney to student A'Ja Booth, 18, last December. The process involved two separate hospitals and surgical teams. For four years, Booth had been leaving school early for three days a week to undergo kidney dialysis.
The operation was a success, and Booth is now scheduled to graduate from high school on June 8. When she returned to school this week, both Booth and Muhammad walked down a literal red carpet rolled down the gym to greet them.
In the segment below, Booth relates how much the gift meant to her while fighting back tears in the gym:
It's hard not to shed a tear (or five) along with her.
"Words can’t explain how I feel about what she did and how she did it," Booth said in a statement on the Detroit Public Schools website. "I’m very thankful and blessed. It means a lot to me. I really look at her as a second mom."
"When I came here, everyone showed me so much love and support. I’m just thankful," she added. "I feel wonderful, better than ever. And I’m really excited to be back in school."
Muhammad really knows the spirit of giving. In the above video, she told WISH-TV the decision to donate one of her kidneys was a "no-brainer" and that "if that was my child, I would want someone to do the same."
Henry Ford Transplant Institute surgeon Dr. Jason Denny told AP he had performed many transplants but never one involving a student and a teacher. Gift of Life Michigan says that roughly 3,505 people were waiting for organ transplants in the state at the beginning of the month.