Mansfield, Ohio (CNN/WSYR-TV) – Wendy Killian loves all of her students at Mansfield Christian School. But one little girl unexpectedly touched her life.
"I would always call her my sunshine girl because her smile would always light up the whole classroom," said Killian. "Then as I got to know her more, and realized how sick she was, that just impressed me all the more."
That little ray of sunshine is a little girl named Nicole. The 8-year-old suffers from a genetic disorder that left her with one kidney and it’s been failing her whole life.
Nicole’s condition worsened and she needed a kidney fast. Even after 18 people volunteered, her parents Brian and Letitia said there was little hope, until a parent-teacher conference last year when Killian believed she could help.
"I was skeptical because we had gone through 18 people. So I was like, 'Well, just think about it, pray about it, see how it goes,'" said Nicole’s mom Letitia Miller.
Sure enough, Killian ended up being a match for Nicole, who is anxious to start functioning more like kids her age.
"I'm nobody special. I'm just a wife, a mommy and a teacher," Killian said. "To want to do that in such a self-sacrificial way is just very humbling as a parent. It's very humbling."
Killian never questioned the decision to donate. She dubbed this as a blessing in disguise and that’s because the situation is all too familiar for the 39-year-old teacher.
"When my youngest was born, he became very critically ill and we weren`t sure if he was going to make it. The doctors couldn't tell us yes or no," Killian explained.
Killian’s youngest son, William, was in need of a blood platelet transfusion. A donor saved her son, who is now 9 years old and enjoying life as every child should.
"For me to be able to step in and ease that burden off of another parent who is sitting bedside of their critically ill child, that I could be the one to step forward," said Killian.
Nicole’s life will now be filled with smiles and giggles thanks to a teacher, who’s paving a bright future for her “little sunshine girl.”