Beloved San Mateo teacher in urgent need of kidney

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- A beloved San Mateo teacher who's in need of a kidney transplant is learning an unexpected lesson in faith and perseverance.

It's a story you'll see only on ABC7 News.

At The Nueva School in San Mateo, teacher Kim Saxe is in a race against time.

She's been teaching at The Nueva School for 26 years and students will tell you she's had a profound impact on their lives. "Kim has made school the place I want to be, makes me excited to walk in," student Ari Nazem said.

But last week, she had some tough news to share.

Saxe is suffering from end stage renal failure and now needs a kidney transplant in order to survive. Right now, doctors say her kidney function is only at 10 percent.

The former engineer turned educator broke the news to her campus community late last week. "That letter actually was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life," Saxe said. Students and staff just couldn't believe it.

"Right after the shock and sadness was, how do I be there for her and how do I help her in a time where she needs me, because she's been there really for me," Nazem said.

The outpouring of support has been encouraging to Saxe. So far, dozens of people have stepped up to see if their kidneys could be a match for Saxe.

But some know that it might not be enough. "I felt an obligation, an obligation simply to do something that was really not that difficult for me and yet utterly critical for Kim," fellow teacher Carlo Cerruti said.

Many of them are doing their best to spread the word. "There are people around you struggling every day with major diseases. You may not see it, it may not be visible and they might not publicize it until the end," alumna Alexandra Howard said.

Saxe is among more than 120,000 people in the country who are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

Nueva parents say they can't imagine the school without her and they're glad she's opening up about such a personal experience.

Those that know her best say she's downright inspiring. And Saxe is learning a lesson about love from those around her.

A teacher who has spent decades building students up is now embracing some of the strength and support that she never expected to come her way. "It made me realize there are so many great people in the world," Saxe said. "Hope is a beautiful thing."

Click here for more on the United Network for Organ Sharing

Click here to donate to Saxe's medical fundraising campaign.

Click here to register to become an organ donor in California.
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