Teaching isn’t the kind of job you do for the money. Teaching day after day requires your full attention, and the amount of preparation the job requires means that working 12-hour days isn’t unusual. Your patience is tested constantly, and you’re perpetually wearing multiple hats to both manage your classroom and teach the material. Teaching is hard. Realistically, people go into teaching for one reason – because they love what they do.
COVID has demonstrated the flexibility and range that’s required of a good teacher, whether they’re adjusting to new in-person rules or completely redoing their curriculum for remote learning. One Missouri teacher named Robin Mach recently took her dedication to her students to an entirely new level by saving one student’s life.
5-Year-old Kayleigh Kulage was born prematurely, entering the world at just 26 weeks and weighing in at under a pound. According to her mom Desiree, Kayleigh spent a whopping 158 days in the NICU, fighting for her life and growing stronger every day. Since she was born underdeveloped, however, Kayleigh has been on dialysis every night since birth.
“If she didn’t have like these tubes on her or anything you wouldn’t really know anything’s wrong with her,” Desiree told Fox 2 Now. “She never cries. She never complains about pain. She’s a happy kid. I couldn’t have been any luckier to have her.”
Robin Mach, a teacher at Kayleigh’s school, has known the brave pre-k student for almost two years. Mach provided home services to Kayleigh and saw firsthand the struggles that Kayleigh endured without so much as a complaint. After bonding with the 5-year-old, Mach made a life-changing decision. She didn’t want the little girl to live her life reliant on tubes and wires, so to render them obsolete, she opted to donate her own kidney to the young student.
“She needed it. I wanted her to have a normal life and go to school. And this is how we can help her get there,” Mach said.
After a painful surgery and days of waiting anxiously to see if the transplant was successful, Kayleigh has a new lease on life. She will now be able to bathe without a catheter, she can fall asleep watching Frozen on the couch without having to be woken for her nightly round of dialysis. Thanks to Miss Robin, as Kayleigh calls her, she will be able to live her life to the fullest.
“She’s incredible,” Desiree said of Miss Robin. “She was offering to do our laundry. And take me back and forth. And I’m like, ‘you just had major surgery. You need to go home and rest.’ I don’t know how to thank her. So, all I keep on saying is thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”