For 11 years, Beth Battista has been caring for her students at the Kids Express Learning Center and preparing them for the future. Now she is literally providing a future to a student in her class by donating a kidney. Four-year-old Lyla Carreyn is in kidney failure and is in desperate need of a transplant.
Last October, Lyla became sick at school and her mother, Dena Carreyn, took her to urgent care. Within minutes they found themselves in an ambulance and a difficult journey in life.
“Within 15 minutes we were in an ambulance on our way to Children’s Hospital. The ambulance driver radioed in that they had a 3-year-old in renal failure and that was the first time that I knew it was very serious,” Dena Carreyn said.
“She’s in kidney failure now and is on dialysis for 10-12 hours every night,” Battista said.
When Battista learned Lyla’s family was searching for a kidney donor, she decided to be tested to see if her kidney would be a match.
“Something inside of me, there’s just a feeling I can’t explain it that I needed to do this, so I made the call,” Battista said.
That call paid off when it was determined that Battista was a match for the little girl who sat every day in her classroom.
“It is a miracle. She was put in my classroom and I was put at this school and it was meant to be,” Battista said.
Once doctors confirmed she could donate her kidney, Battista surprised Lila’s mother. She invited her to the school to meet a new teacher who was going to be working with Lila, but instead handed her a note that read, “I may just be her teacher now, but soon a little piece of me will be with Lyla forever. I’m Lyla’s kidney donor.”
When Lyla’s mother read the note, the emotions of both women spilled over as they embraced.
“I told my husband that besides getting married and having my two children it was one of the most emotional days being able to tell somebody that you can save their child’s life,” Battista said.
Doctors are working on a schedule for the kidney transplant, but believe it will take place in the coming months. In the meantime Lyla, her mother and Battista all are wearing the same organ donor bracelet.
While Battista has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of children in her 11-year teaching career, with Lyla she is giving life.
“This is giving her a future,” Battista said.
To learn more about becoming a living donor, visit UW Health's Living Kidney Donor website.
To become a registered organ donor, visit Donate Life Wisconsin's website.