Retired teacher reaches out to former students for a kidney - KMSP-TV

Retired teacher reaches out to former students for a kidney

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HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (WJBK) - A retired Hamtramck teacher is learning a valuable life lesson of his own now after reaching out to his former students, asking them to donate a kidney.

Sixty-five-year-old Stanley Nalepa has had heart surgery, shingles and even skin cancer in the past. Then, doctors told him his kidney was failing.

"At first, I wasn't going to get [a donated kidney] for humanitarian reasons. I wanted the younger people to have it instead of me. Then, I thought of my grandkids - 13, 5 and 4 [years old]. I want to see them grow up and do things," he says.  

He has since passed all the tests making sure his body would accept a new kidney, and attends dialysis three times a week.  

Then, one of his nurses urged him to share his situation on social media after learning he was friends with nearly 300 of his former students on Facebook.

So, as Nalepa says, he "swallowed his pride and put it out there."

He says he couldn't believe the responses he began to get from his students.

"This might be my lucky stars, these students. I taught them, and they taught me a lot now about compassion," says an emotional Nalepa. "One student said she's going to start a kidney donor campaign just for me, and that really got to me. I wasn't very emotional in class; I was the tough guy. But now, every phone call or every time I read [a message], it really gets to me and it's sinking in how much I had an impact on these students' lives."

Nalepa was born and raised in Hamtramck, and taught in the Hamtramck School District for 31 years.

He's still not sure if he will actually receive a kidney from a former student, but says some have gotten tested already but are not a match.

For information on how you can be tested to become a kidney donor for Nalepa, you can call him at (586) 751-6898.
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