When a high school teacher at Denver Academy needed a kidney, word began to spread … and then a student’s parent stepped up.
Two years ago, Andy Klaus-Corritore, 43, a teacher at Denver Academy, was diagnosed with 90 percent kidney failure after uncovering a severe high blood pressure issue. He was suddenly thrust into a new world of kidney dialysis treatments — a short-term fix for a serious, life-threatening situation.
For more than a year, he endured 10 hours of dialysis every night — while still coming into work each day at the school, where he’s taught ninth grade U.S. history, literature, and writing for 11 years. He also serves as the school’s golf coach and girls’ basketball coach.
But with only 35 to 40 percent of patients alive after five years on dialysis, Mr. K (as his students call him) was running out of time. He needed a kidney transplant if he wanted to survive long-term — and reclaim his life — which he has dedicated to educating children.
Enter Stacey Folk, a parent of one of Mr. K’s homeroom students, who put together a video seeking a living kidney donor to save his life. The video, set to The Fray’s “How to Save a Life,” was published in May and circulated the Denver Academy community, garnering almost 1500 views and ultimately catching the attention of another parent at the school, Scott Patten. After being touched by Mr. K’s story, Patten made the selfless decision to donate his kidney to the teacher, a man he barely even knew.
If I could help him live another decade or two, and keep helping kids like that, it would be a big change for the world that I can’t do myself,” Patten told Fox 31.
As soon as Mr. K was informed of the good news, he called Folk — to thank her for putting the video together in the first place, which ultimately set everything in motion. A kidney transplant requires surgery and a hospital stay for the donor, so Patten’s sacrifice was no small thing.
Denver Academy, a private school for grades 1–12, “inspires and empowers diverse learners through student-centered, differentiated, and transformative education,” according to its website.
If you are interested in kidney donation, please visit the American Transplant Foundation’s website. There are thousands of people waiting for a donor, and 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant, according to the video Folk published on Mr. K’s behalf.
We at OCN send our best wishes to Mr. K, as well as many kudos to Patten, Folk, and the entire Denver Academy community for coming together in support of a beloved teacher. The surgery occurred September 11, according to a Facebook post, and everything went well.