- Damien, 13, lives with a kidney disorder called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
- He has been undergoing treatment for years and awaiting a transplant.
- However, he has been told he will not be eligible to be placed on a list until he is living in a “stable home.”
- So, his maths teacher Finn Lanning has offered to take him in.
- Since living with Lanning, Damien has been focused on being relisted for a transplant, but the two are considering adoption.
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Some teachers really go above and beyond. But one teacher in Aurora, Colorado, has offered to go far past the extra mile.
Finn Lanning heard that one of his students, 13-year-old Damien was ineligible for a kidney transplant “due to lack of stable housing,” according to a GoFundMe page. Lanning felt that he “could no longer look away” and took the teenager in, he told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Damien lives with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a kidney disorder. According to Lanning’s GoFundMe, Damien was diagnosed with FSGS at a young age and has been on dialysis “for many years,” often spending months at a time living in hospitals.
According to Yahoo News, Damien was living with a family member over the summer and in the fall he enrolled AXL Academy, where he took Lanning’s maths class.
But in the Winter, things took a turn, he wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“A few weeks before the winter holiday, the relative he was staying with had to make the difficult decision to return him to county custody,” Lanning wrote. “Having a typical 13-year-old in your home can be a significant challenge for anyone, and Damien’s additional needs proved too much for his caregiver.”
In December Lanning decided to step in, CNN reported.
“He is well-mannered, polite and exceptionally smart,” Lanning told CNN of Damien.
The pair has been living together for several months now and are becoming accustomed to their new life.
A big part of that is a new schedule – Lanning told CNN he takes off work twice a week to bring Damien to doctor’s appointments, but some of his coworkers have been understanding of the situation.
“A number of teachers have donated their vacation time off. The support from my school community has been wonderful,” he said. “It can be isolating. It makes us not feel so alone in the process. It’s huge.”
Lanning is looking to complete foster care certification – a process that can take between six to eight months – so that he can receive financial support for Damien.
In the meantime, Lanning has set up a GoFundMe to help cover expenses, such as the grocery bill to accommodate Damien’s dietary restrictions related to FSGS.
“We spend about $US200 a week on (groceries),” the teacher told CNN.
He plans to use funds from the page to cover other basic living expenses, too. “It is more expensive than I anticipated to entertain a 13-year-old,” he said.
At the time of this post on Saturday morning, the fundraiser had raised double its $US30,000 goal, bringing in over $US60,000. He said the excess money will be put toward cooking classes, since cooking is Damien’s passion, and an eventual family vacation.
For Damien and Lanning, adoption is the end goal. But right now, they are focused on the transplant. As Lanning wrote on the GoFundMe, Damien was “recently relisted on the kidney transplant list.”
“Damien has been let down by a number of systems and adults throughout his life,” Lanning told Yahoo. “Despite the challenges of providing for his care, I am committed to not being another adult that lets him down.”
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