'Tis the Giving Season: Principal to Donate Kidney to 8th Grade Student

Posted Nov 21, 2007 by Andi Bryant
A middle school principal in Franklin, NH is donating a kidney to one of his students. The 13-year-old's health has declined over the past year and without a kidney, her future seems bleak and dependent on medical machinery.
Television celebrities can give cars to everyone in an audience without the blink of an eye and it matters not who the people are or what kind of life they lead, but it's a nice gesture. They can go into impoverished areas of the world and open a school and hand-pick students who should attend. It seems such a nice gesture too, but of the hundred students picked, there are a thousand more wondering why not them.
It is all in the name of giving that makes offerings seem touching, but something seems lost at times. On such large scale gestures of niceness there is too little familiarity, and sometimes there are too few stories attached that touch the heart. And I'm guessing; just a guess now, that most celebrities who choose to be givers have most of their vital organs still in tact.
Now remove the high profile celebrity status and we have powerhouse givers like Jim Friel, a man who has devoted 24 years of his life to the greater good of youth through education. Friel is the principal at Franklin Middle School in Franklin, NH, and he is a giver that far exceeds most giving standards.
It would only be fitting that this man, husband and father of two grown boys, do all he can for the students he has committed his career to. So, when he learned that one of his students needed a kidney and his blood type was right, he found it fitting to travel to Boston Children's Hospital for further compatibility testing. He is a match.
"I've spent 24 years in education trying to make a difference. This is the best opportunity I've had so far," said Jim Friel.
Friel was contacted last week by 13-year old Morgan Corliss' mother who informed him that, of the two possible matches for a kidney donor for her daughter, the family chose him.
Morgan was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS, at the age of four. Morgan's mother, Karen, was also diagnosed with the disease and received a kidney from her own sister at age 16. Morgan's younger sister, Hunter is also afflicted.
FSGS, which is typically not known to be a hereditary illness, prevents the kidneys from filtering impurities from the body.
Morgan has lived a relatively healthy life until last year when she underwent surgery to remove her spleen and gall bladder. Her health has been steadily declining since, and she has now lost 85% of her kidney function. The kidney transplant would keep her from needing the support of dialysis for up to 12 hours a day.
Although nervous and somewhat reserved about the medical process he must undergo prior to the transplant, Friel says, "When I talk to Morgan and I see the smile on her face when she sees the possibility of what her life will be like after this, it makes me know I'm doing the right thing."
Friel must go through an extensive screen process and says that at any time, any number of involved doctors, his or Morgan's, could say no if there are any doubts. "Just because I'm committed it doesn't mean it's a sure thing." Friel said.
Should all go well along the screening process, the transplant is slated to take place in January. Friel's family supports his decision to help Morgan.