Woman donates kidney to former principal

Elizabeth Blankenfeld (CNN Photo)

HOWARD, S.D. (CNN) — A former student helped save the life of her high school principal by giving him a kidney.

Students gives teacher kidney
Mike Cullen (CNN Photo)

Elizabeth Blankenfeld is 27 years old and a nurse. She says she wanted to help the man who helped her with math back in high school, so she drove hundreds of miles to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to have the surgery

Mike Cullen, a now-retired school administrator, has kidney disease, which left him on dialysis for more than 10 hours a week.

Elizabeth said she didn’t want him to get stuck on a waiting list for a kidney.

“At Elkton we are a family, we care about each other,” Robin Hemmen, an Elkton Public School teacher, said. “The staff, the students. So when you hear a former friend needs something to save their life, people step-up, especially in small communities.”

Blankenfeld said she has always wanted to help others.

The transplant took place last week and Cullen in now recovering. He says he’s looking forward to moving to Minneapolis with his wife to be closer to his children.

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