Teacher struggles to find kidney donor

Caroline Capino

August 20, 2013 2:39:20 PM PDT
A Cumberland County school teacher is excited to return to the classroom despite fighting kidney disease that has weakened her body over the past six months.

Art teacher Caroline Capino is now waiting for a donor, but her spirits are high. The disease that she deals with boils down to an infection-fighting protein settling in her kidney, which leaks along with fluids like blood.

The condition has worsened over the past several months, and now Capino is using social media to help find that donor.

For now, Capino needs to keep in mind one particular assignment.

"You have to face your challenges," she said.

The challenge began about 10 years ago when the Sherwood Park Elementary School teacher was diagnosed with a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy, which she had never heard of.

"No, that's one of the things that you have to Google," said Capino.

It was no sweat for ten years, and then six months ago, a normal lab test returned abnormal results, and stage one turned into stage five. Capino was pulled from the classroom.

"They were like you need to go to the emergency room immediately," she said.

The solution was in-home dialysis, and the process of getting on that donor list. A type O-plus blood and the need for a living donor present quite the challenge.

"The list right now, from what I understand, what they told me when I went up there is 5-7 years," said Capino.

So Capino has taken to her Facebook page "Fayetteville Art Teacher Needs a Kidney" to put a call out for that donor, document and educate others on what she's going through. Although the concept of needing a kidney can go over some of her young students' heads.

"He said you can go to K&W and get some with onions," said Capino. "I was like, no, no wrong organ."

The single-mother and educator does know there's a harsh reality.

"The sad thing is there are a lot of people who do lose their lives because they're waiting," said Capino. "It's a waiting game."

On Capino's Facebook page, there's contact information for the UNC Hospitals' donor coordinator. He would test potential donors for her, and make sure they match.

The good news is that there have already been calls from people who think that they may be a match.

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