My high school his­tory teacher changed my life. Now I want to save hers. Can you help?

Los Angeles Times - - PARADE - By Brad Meltzer

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.

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