A+ Teacher: Changing lives in and out of the classroom

Melissa Karman's gifts go beyond the classrooms at Ironwood Elementary School in Casa Grande.

CASA GRANDE, Ariz.- Being a teacher is difficult.

it's a job that requires constant giving of one's time, patience and in many cases personal life, as it is for Melissa Karman, a special education teacher at Ironwood Elementary who's about to change her life to save a stranger's.

"It takes a special person, but that's the type of person Melissa is," said Ironwood principal Robin Rosales. "On her bucket list -- and you know teachers love lists -- she's got down 'save a life,' and I think she can cross that one off."

Danny Lopez, the husband of another Ironwood teacher, went in for a blood test, only to be contacted immediately afterward by his doctor, who had urgent news. He needed a kidney transplant.

"It got worse and worse. Now I'm going in weekly for tests," says Danny Lopez, who is going in for surgery in the first week of May. He'll be receiving Melissa Karman's. " To have a total stranger do this, is something special, I get my life back, and her and I will always be connected." 

At school, the buzz is big. Everyone knows about a stranger helping a stranger live, and it's restored faith in humanity for many.

"I didn't think twice about it," Karman said, "I knew Josie's husband was in and out of the hospital and he needed a donor, so I went in to get checked to see if I matched, and I didn't think twice. I got the call, and they said I was a match, and that was great news to me." 

"She's changed our life for the good. I love this woman now," said Lopez, "She's doing something amazing and I don't know what to say to her, just that I am so grateful she's giving me my life back." 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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