Life After an Amazing Kidney Donation

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BELLVILLE, Ohio-- An afternoon at the Miller house may require a nap for some.

The three youngest children – Katelynn, Caleb and Nicole – like to dive into just about any activity, said their mother, Letitia Miller.

“It’s definitely busy around here,” she said.

Yet, that craze brings relief to Letitia. It’s a huge contrast to how things were earlier this year, especially with her oldest daughter, Nicole, who is eight years old.

“She’s with us. As a person, she’s with us,” Letitia said. “She does things with us. She’s not checked out. She’s not just so fatigued that she can’t function. It’s just wonderful.”

Nicole had been sick ever since birth.

She has a genetic disorder, branchiootorenal syndrome, which affects a person’s hearing and kidneys. She was born with one kidney, and it’s been failing her whole life.

Often, Nicole would be too sick to go to school. Letitia said her daughter would tire easily and couldn’t function like other kids her age.

On April 23, Nicole underwent a kidney transplant. Her donor is Wendy Killian, Nicole’s former kindergarten teacher at Mansfield Christian School.

“When you see your child failing in health, it’s just this cloud that follows you everywhere you go and it’s gone,” Letitia said.

“We couldn’t have ever planned it to go that well,” she continued. “I just thank God for orchestrating everything so well and being with us throughout the whole journey.”

Now, nearly four months after surgery, Nicole’s family is celebrating her strides as a recipient.

Her body has adjusted well to the surgery and they’ve even traveled on family vacations this summer, just in time to send Nicole’s oldest brother, Nathan, off to college.

Nicole now visits her doctors twice a month, which is better than doctors anticipated.

However, she does have a long road ahead.

For the rest of her life, she’ll have to visit doctors and need to take medications every day, Letitia said.

Eventually, Nicole will need another kidney transplant.

Yet, her family is grateful for God, for each other, and especially a courageous teacher who made it happen: Wendy.

“I can’t even explain how I feel about Wendy because what she did for us was priceless,” Letitia said.

Wendy is also doing well after surgery and is only required to visit her doctor once a year.

However, she had decided to leave teaching and is now pursuing work at a local orthodontist's office.

She and the Millers hope that their story will inspire others to pay it forward and help other kids like Nicole get a second chance at life.

“Everything kind of worked out for her and she was able to do that, and so don’t let that be a limit,” Letitia said. “Don’t let anything be a limit. If you want to do it, pursue it because it’s such a blessing.”

*READ MORE on this amazing story.