February 19, 2014 6:09 PM
DENVER (CBS4)- A Denver teacher is back in the classroom after giving the gift of life to one of her students.
Jen Sculley is a physical education teacher at Denver’s East High School. She spent the past five weeks away recovering after donating a kidney to one of her students, 17-year-old Madi Ferner.
Ferner kept her illness a secret from much of her classmates. She was diagnosed with incurable kidney disease when she was six years old.
“It was to the point where I thought I was going to die when I was little,” said Ferner.
She has been fighting at the mercy of modern medicine. When asked how many surgeries she’s had, Ferner answered, “Close to 30.”
Sculley and Ferner had an instant connection. Ferner shared the name of Sculley’s favorite aunt and Sculley felt she had a calling.
“There are people out there begging for kidneys and then she offers me it like, ‘Oh, here, have a bag od groceries or something,’” said Ferner.
So far Sculley’s kidney is working fine for Ferner but they need to find the right treatment to keep her kidney disease from coming back.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but also the most amazing,” said Sculley.
When asked what her Aunt Madi would say now if she could still talk to her, Sculley replied, “Good job.”
Ferner no longer keeps her health issues a secret, “In order to take our experience and really do some good I think people need to know.”
The two are bonded for life and are hoping they’re an inspiration for others.
Ferner hopes to start a support group for chronically ill teenagers.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: University of Colorado Hospital Kidney Transplant Program