Something was wrong

Camden, little boy, sad
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It didn’t take long for Camden Petersen’s kindergarten teacher to notice something wasn’t right with him. Lately, the young boy seemed to be acting strange. Though she had her hands tied trying to manage a full classroom of kids, something told her she’d better keep her eye on Camden.

His whole demeanor had changed, and it broke her heart to see someone so young seem so dejected and upset. She needed to get to the bottom of this problem and find out what was going on.

Kindergarten teacher, Nancy Bleuer

Teacher, Nancy Bleur, Kindergarten teacher
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As is the case with many teachers, Nancy Bleuer was led to this career by following her passion for education and the future of her community. Teachers know the degree of impact they can have on a child’s life.

That’s why many teachers are willing to go the extra mile to take care of their students. However, in Nancy’s case this would be more like a marathon.

What made her feel suspicious?

Nancy Bleur, teacher, kindergarten teacher
Nancy Bleuer via Facebook

Camden was usually a fairly social boy but, as of late, this seemed to have changed. At first, Nancy thought that he might just be having a bad day.

But as bad days turned into bad weeks, Nancy’s suspicions were roused. She was sad to see the young boy so distressed and distracted. It got to the point where he stopped playing with the other children altogether. Nancy began to fear that something really serious was going on.

Pulling the student aside

Camden, young child in class, sad kid
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Eventually, Nancy knew she couldn’t hold back any longer — she was going to pull Camden aside and get to the bottom of this. When speaking with Camden, she realized there was a serious problem at home — one that left the 4-year-old boy feeling helpless.

The heartbreaking truth made her pick up the phone immediately. She hoped there was something she could do to help.

Making the call

Nancy Bleur, Camden, Conversation
Inside Edition via Youtube

Nancy decided she couldn’t stand by and do nothing, so she decided to take action right away. This required some investigating, so Nancy dug through the school’s files in search of Camden’s father’s number, then she made the call.

Though she hoped she wasn’t out of line, she knew she had to be forthright about why she was calling. Nancy needed answers. As expected, the unannounced call caught Camden’s dad off guard.

Camden’s dad was startled

Darreld Petersen, Camden, on the couch
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

This was a call that Camden’s father, Darreld, was not expecting to receive. When he first picked up the phone and realized it was Camden’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Bleuer, he feared that his son may have gotten in serious trouble. When Nancy told him why she was really calling, he had to ask her to repeat herself.

Darreld was a little embarrassed by what Camden had shared with his teacher, but Nancy wasn’t willing to let it go. Fortunately, Nancy is every bit as stubborn as she is compassionate.

It took some courage

Nancy Bleuer , selfie, teacher
Nancy Bleuer via Facebook

Nancy Bleuer was more than just a little nervous when she made that fateful call, worrying that she might offend Camden’s father. Even so, she felt that it had to be done.

Eventually, the phone call would prove to be the most important call she’d ever made in her life. Camden would be forever grateful for that moment during that moment. But this was just the beginning — her courage would be tested much, much harder in the coming months…

Camden was afraid

Darreld Petersen, Camden, posing together
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

After speaking to Camden and Darreld, Nancy understood why the young boy had been so upset these past few weeks. He was worried that, at any moment, his life would be turned upside down.

All it took was one conversation for Nancy to feel the young boy’s pain. She knew that she had to do whatever she could to make things right.

A promise was made

Nancy in classroom, looking down, teacher
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Nancy was incredibly sympathetic to young Camden and his family. After hearing the devastating circumstances surrounding his home life, her heart broke.

While anyone would be moved by what the boy and his father were dealing with, Nancy displayed a form of courage and compassion that only a small percentage of people can claim to have.  She decided she would do everything in her power to help. As it turned out, this would be quite a lot more than anyone could have imagined.

Could she keep the promise?

Nancy Bleur, kindergarten, teacher
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The decision Nancy had made is not one to be taken lightly. This was a hard path to take — one that would be full of pain and sacrifice.

But, when Nancy thought about her student, she was filled with resolve. She had made up her mind to take action — but would she even be able to help?

The first trip to the hospital

Nancy Bleur, teacher, kindergarten teacher
CBS Philly via Youtube

There was only one way to find out. Shortly after Darreld and Nancy’s fateful phone call, Nancy visited the hospital. There, she was given copious amounts of paperwork to fill out and information to digest.

Next, she’d have to go through an extensive amount of tests and a psychological evaluation to see if she’d be able to help the way she wanted to. It was important that the doctors ascertain whether or not she was mentally prepared to embark on this incredibly selfless mission.

Against all odds

Darreld Petersen, Nancy Bleur, sitting together
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

Miraculously, the tests proved that Nancy would be able to help, after all. In fact, she’s one of the only people who could.

Not only was she physically and psychologically strong enough to handle the incredible sacrifice she was about to make, she was uniquely capable based on her genetic makeup. There was no turning back now…

The serious problem with Camden’s dad

Camden and father, classroom, child
CBS Philly via Youtube

It turns out that Darreld had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. At this junction in time, his kidneys were functioning at below 20% capacity. This meant constant trips to the hospital and several close calls. Camden was terrified of losing his dad for good.

The fact that Nancy was willing to be Darreld’s kidney donor came as a huge surprise to him and his family. The news came just in the nick of time — Darreld had been on the waiting list for a kidney for a while and was recently placed on dialysis after a potential match had fallen through.

An incredible act of compassion

Darreld Petersen, Camden, selfie
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

At first, Darreld was hesitant to accept Nancy’s incredible generosity. After all, she would be making an incredible sacrifice — one that no one should ever take lightly. But Nancy would hear none of it.

Camden’s caring kindergarten teacher had made a promise to do whatever she could — and in this case that decision was clear.

Taking the tests

Laboratory technician holding test tubes containing blood samples
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When it comes to donating organs, selflessness and righteous intentions aren’t enough — the potential donor and recipient have to be a viable match. This means they have to share the same blood type. Beyond that, a blood tissue test is performed to determine the likelihood for the transplant to be successful. 

Then they will perform two crossmatch tests, in which the doctors will observe whether the blood of the recipient will react with that of the donor. If it does, the transplant will not be successful and the recipient’s body will reject the kidney. 

More tests are required

Dr. George Sawaya examines patient Susan Lehr at the UCSF Women's Health Center June 21, 2006 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced on today his plan called San Francisco Health Access Plan (SF HAP), a universal healthcare plan for San Francisco residents that is scheduled to be up and running within a year. The plan will be the first of its kind in the United States.
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Even if these blood tests determined Nancy and Darreld were a match, there are more tests that need to be performed. The doctors must make sure the donor’s body is able to handle the stress of giving up a kidney.

This includes a routine physical, electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, urine analysis, computed tomography of the donor’s kidneys, and additional blood tests.

Luckily, Nancy’s body passed all these tests as well. 


Darreld Petersen, Camden, in car
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

Darreld, Camden, and their family was floored by Nancy’s incredible sacrifice and compassion. To show their appreciation, the family visited Nancy at school and brought flowers to express their thanks.

“I had friends and family come forward who wanted to donate, but these didn’t work out, for medical reasons or other reasons,” Darreld said. “Then Miss Nancy approached me.”

The moment of truth

Darreld Peterson, speaking to camera
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Finally, the fateful day arrived. After countless interviews with local news, paperwork, tests, and preparation it was time to visit the hospital and undergo surgery.

Darreld later admitted he was having second thoughts. He was concerned about Nancy’s health, but she remained determined as ever. There was no turning back now…

A tense scene

Consultant Surgeon Andrew Ready and his team conduct a live donor kidney transplant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on June 9, 2006, in Birmingham, England. Kidney failure patient Carol Playfair was given the chance of life when her sister Tracey Playfair offered one of her own perfect kidneys to help save the life of Carol. The operation at The QE Hospital, part of The University Hospital's Trust was one of 1500 live donor transplants carried out in the United Kingdon every year. Despite the introduction of Donor Cards, there are still too few kidneys available to help all those who require a transplant, thereby producing a waiting list and the only chance of survival is by live donor.
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Transplant surgeons Alan Reed, Zoe Stewart Lewis, and Daniel Katz are among the best in the business. They were confident the surgery would go off without a hitch. Confidant as they were, there are always risks involved in any surgery.

Darreld’s family waited nervously outside during the procedure. “You could tell that every person wanted to be there for you,” Darreld said. The nurses stayed with the family, answering questions and doing what they could to keep them calm.


Darreld Petersen, Camden, together, success
CBS Philly via Youtube

When Nancy Bleuer woke up in the hospital bed, she was surrounded by appreciative faces. Darreld and Camden’s family struggled to hold back tears, as they expressed their gratitude to her for saving Darreld’s life.

“She’s given me and my son a new opportunity at life,” Darreld said.

Words could not express the gratitude he and his family had for this selfless, brave act.

Giving thanks

Camden and friends, smiling together
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

Of course, Camden was thrilled at the success of the surgery. As his health father’s health returned, so did all of Camden’s joy, energy, and playfulness Nancy had missed seeing in the young student.

To express his gratitude, Camden vowed to be the best possible student for Ms. Bleuer. His family vowed to give her all the support she’d need for the rest of her life — they were forever indebted to her. They also felt inspired to help others.

Others in need

Darreld and Camden, television news
CBS Philly via Youtube

Darreld and Nancy were determined to give other people the same chance at life that Darreld had been given. They decided they would share their story and inspire others to be just as generous.

News channels were more than happy to spread the story and help them raise awareness for organ donation. As for Nancy, she remains humble about the whole ordeal.

It was the right thing to do

Nancy Bleuer, selfie, donor
Nancy Bleuer via Facebook

Nancy said she was inspired by a coworker who had donated a kidney to someone in her church. When she was given the opportunity to save someone’s life in the same fashion, she knew she had to take action.

“It was an important part of her life’s journey, and that was inspirational to me,” Nancy said. “When I heard about Darreld and Camden’s situation, it just felt like the right thing to do.”

A miracle

Nancy Bleuer, teacher, donor
CBS Philly via Youtube

When Nancy found out she was a match with Darreld, she was overjoyed by the news. “I don’t know what I would’ve done for closure if I wasn’t a match,” Nancy said. She was thrilled to be able to make such a difference in Camden and Darreld’s lives.

Incredibly, everything aligned so that she was able to provide hope to Camden’s family. For that, they would be eternally grateful.

An unbreakable bond

Darreld Petersen, Nancy Bleur, sitting together
Darreld Petersen via Facebook

Every day that Darreld and Camden can spend together is made possible by Nancy Bleuer’s generosity and sacrifice. To Darreld, this means that his family and Nancy share an inseparable bond.

“She’s a part of my family for the rest of her life, whether she likes it or not,” Darrel said. “How do you ever thank someone for saving your life? She really is an amazing woman.” Clearly, Ms. Bleuer practices the kindness, compassion, and bravery she tries to instill in her young students.