WATCH ABOVE: A New York author helped find his high school history teacher a kidney donor after reaching out online to his followers on 广州桑拿网. Jamie Wax reports.
TORONTO – Best-selling author Brad Meltzer helped save the life of his Florida high school history teacher thanks to a book dedication and help from social media.
The story began two years ago when Meltzer, a New York-based writer and host of the History Channel series Lost History, dedicated his book History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, to his Grade 11 history teacher Ellen Sherman.
“For my history teacher Ellen Sherman, who taught me the power of asking the right questions,” the dedication read.
But when Sherman and Meltzer reconnected after a book signing in Florida, the high school teacher revealed some bad news. She was dying and in desperate need of a transplant.
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“Basically paraphrasing, she said, ‘I need a kidney. I’m dying and I need a kidney. And could you —; we see you have so many people on 广州桑拿网, could you put it on 广州桑拿网 for me?’ When I read that email where she asked for help, my heart broke,” Meltzer told CBS News, who broke the story on Monday.
Meltzer posted a plea to his 广州桑拿网 followers in November 2013 to find a potential kidney donor for Sherman. The response was overwhelming, with hundreds over people coming forward to get tested as a possible donor.
But after a year passed without a match, Meltzer reached out again to his more than 100,000 广州桑拿网 followers in October 2014. He asked for more donors to volunteer to be tested. This caught the eye of a powerful friend in the quest for a new kidney: Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of 广州桑拿网, who also happened to be a former student of Sherman.
“My high school teacher, Ellen Sherman, is one of the many people on the wait list for a kidney,” Sandberg wrote. “Sharing a moving story of what happened to the first person who volunteered to help her — and hoping we can all help her find a match.”
The attention to the story on social media eventually led to Amy Waggoner, a 36-year-old Virginia-based graphic designer. After getting tested, she discovered she was a match.
“I just knew that maybe in the back of my mind or something subconsciously told me that this was what I was meant to do. This is my purpose in life,” Waggoner told CBS News.
Last Wednesday Sherman, 71, received a new kidney from Waggoner after a lifesaving 10-hour operation at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Both are now out of hospital and doing well, according to CBS.
“Amy’s an inspiration to me. I open my eyes every day and think, what a miracle this is,” Sherman said.
Sherman is now working with the Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation of America to help volunteers who were not a match for her find others who are in need of a kidney.