Teacher adopting sick student to help him get a new kidney

(CNN) — A Colorado teacher is adopting a sick seventh grader in need of a stable home so that he can stay in the kidney transplant list.

13-year-old Damien was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), which is a long way of saying he needs a kidney transplant.

“I’m on the list and at the top because I’ve been on dialysis for so long,” he told KDVR.

Now the teenager is getting a second chance at life thanks to his teacher, Finn Lanning, who he met when school started in August. 

“One day he showed up and just said he wasn’t gonna be back anymore and when I questioned him about that he told me that he was going back to live in the hospital,” Lanning recalled. 

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And it wasn’t because Damien was too sick to stay at home.

“Over the course of the years, I ended up in foster homes because of my medical needs,” Damien said. 

“Because of his medical needs, it’s difficult for the county to find a placement that can serve those needs,” Lanning added.

Damien has had to live at the hospital for months or years at a time.

“When you’re living in the hospital, you’re not able to be on the transplant list because folks who don’t have stable housing are considered high risk for their organ to not work,” Lanning explained.

To get a kidney, Damien needed a home, so the teacher decided to take him in.

“It just became really hard for me to look the other way,” Lanning said.

“It’s going good, like I got my own room now,” Damien said.

“It’s been weird. Like at first he still called me mister a lot,” Lanning added.

Now Damien can get a kidney any day. 

“We can get a call during this interview right now,” Damien told KDVR. 

Since Damien’s diet is restricted, their grocery bills are high. The teacher is accepting donations through GoFundMe to help with the expenses.