Oakfield Elementary School teacher Jodi Schmidt has always loved seeing eight-year-old Natasha Fuller at school. The little girl’s smile, positive outlook, and sweet demeanor never fails to brighten Schmidt’s day. But little did the teacher know that despite Natasha’s easygoing attitude, her health was quickly deteriorating.
Natasha was born with prune belly syndrome, a condition that causes urinary tract disease and ultimately requires a kidney transplant. As she waited on the national donor list, Natasha endured regular dialysis while attending school part-time. She was also separated from her twin sister, Brookelynn, who lived in Oklahoma with their parents. For two years, Natasha stayed with her grandparents, Chris and Mark Burleton, in Wisconsin, so she could receive specialized care at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Schmidt didn’t realize how bad Natasha’s condition was until she stumbled across a Facebook post written by her family. They were pleading for a kidney. And because Natasha regularly experienced infections, she kept getting bumped off the transplant list.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” Schmidt told CNN, recalling her drive home from work. “Then it totally just hit me, and I told myself I’m going to get tested for it.”
As it turns out, she was a perfect match. Ecstatic, she invited Natasha and her grandmother to her classroom one day, where she surprised them with the incredible news. She slid a hot pink gift box topped with a neon green bow over to Burleton, who broke down after opening it.
“I thought maybe Natasha was in some kind of trouble,” Burleton said. “Instead, I was given a box to open and a note inside that said ‘It’s a match!’ That’s when I lost it.”
Watch as Natasha and Burleton receive the best gift of their lives in the video below. Doctors performed the transplant in May. Now Natasha has a second chance at life!