GOOD KARMA FOR MRS. SHERMAN
My high school history teacher changed my life. Now I want to save hers. Can you help?
forth, Mrs. Sherman revealed a secret: She was sick, and she needed a new kidney. She then asked if I could ask the people on my Facebook page if they might be willing to donate. I immediately put the word out. And then I contacted my high school pal Sheryl Sandberg (who also took Mrs. Sherman’s class and who is the COO of Facebook), and that’s when we really got the word out.
We got many potential donors. One of them (a reader of mine) was thought to be a match. So, naturally, we started getting excited. Then, a twist of fate: The potential donor, a woman I’ll call Beth, came down to Florida for the final stages of testing. In the course of those tests, doctors discovered that Beth had a cancerous tumor on her own kidney. I know. You almost have to read it again. We were just as shocked to learn this.
Beth explained that since the doctors caught her cancer so early, she would be spared radiation or chemotherapy. Shewould need surgery, but she could be cured. Beth kept thanking me over and over for saving her life. emember the first person who took a chance on you? We all have them. For me, back in 11th grade, it was my history teacher who took a chance on me. She was the person who showed me my first JFK conspiracy film (one of the good ones, not the kooky, insane ones) and helped nurture my love of learning. Most important, she had faith in me, forcing me to have faith in myself as she helped me become the first in my immediate family to attend a four-year college (where I majored in, yes, history). As someone who today makes his living writing thrillers filled with real history, I owe a great deal to Mrs. Sherman.
To thank her, I recently dedicated one of my books to her. I hadn’t seen her in nearly a decade, but I knew: She changed my life—I owed her forever. When she got word of what I’d done, Mrs. Sherman reached out to me. I was thrilled just to see her email pop up in my inbox. Mrs. Sherman was a giant in my life. To see a note from her—I felt like I was 17 again, with a full head of hair.
After a few emails back and
But we all know the truth. Beth saved her own life—by being so kind, and volunteering to save the life of a stranger.
Part of me still can’t believe it. Whether you think it was God, or fate or just luck, it was one of those moments where you have to listen to the universe. It’s the best lesson of all: When you do something good in this world, it brings out the good in others. And it always, eventually, spreads good elsewhere.
A year later, Beth is feeling great. After her surgery, the tumor was found to be benign, though it was a precursor to cancer that disqualifed her from being a kidney donor. That means that we’re still looking for a donor match for Mrs. Sherman. She still needs a kidney. And I’m trusting in the universe that this essay will help her find it.
Bestselling author Brad Meltzer holds a photo of his teacher who needs a kidney.